Past Exhibitions 2008-09

see captionInstallation image from Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out, Special Exhibitions Gallery, June 17 – September 26, 2009


Fashion and Politics

Fashion & Politics
July 7 – November 7, 2009

Featuring over 100 costumes, textiles and accessories, Fashion & Politics examined the rich history of politics in fashion. The exhibition's introductory gallery explored the theme of American nationalism and features a woman's costume, circa 1889, printed with an American flag motif, as well as Catherine Malandrino's iconic Flag Dress, worn by numerous celebrities and socialites to express patriotism after 9/11, and then again in response to the 2008 elections. Also featured was an "IKE" dress from the 1956 Eisenhower Campaign, a "NIXON" paper dress, and memorabilia from the historic 2008 presidential elections.

Visit the online exhibition.

American Flag costume, printed cotton, circa 1889, USA, gift of Stephen de Pietri, 88.125.1

Isabel Toledo

Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out
June 17 – September 26, 2009

The Cuban-born fashion designer Isabel Toledo is often described as "a designer's designer." Although she is little known to the general public, her work is greatly admired by members of the fashion community. As the late fashion journalist Amy Spindler once wrote, "Only great designers can dispense with themes and theatrics and let the work speak instead. Ms. Toledo does just that, letting fashion itself be the theme."

Visit the online exhibition.

Balloon dress and blossom sleeve bolero, red silk paper taffeta and chiffon, spring 2005, gift of Toledo Studio, 2005.72.1. Photograph by William Palmer.

muriel king

Muriel King: Artist of Fashion
March 10 – April 4, 2009

Muriel King's unique sense of pragmatic luxury brought immediate success, and her motto of cautious daring made her a favorite among America's socialites. King's separates and day-into-evening clothes provided versatility and value.

Muriel King: Artist of Fashion focused on the artistry of King's designs and sought to define her contribution to the history of American fashion. She debuted as a designer in 1932, when she not only opened her own New York couture salon, but also entered into a licensing partnership with the retailer Lord & Taylor. For private couture clients, she created exclusive, one-of-a-kind garments, while at Lord & Taylor she offered select ready-to-wear designs.

Visit the online exhibition.

Watercolor on paper, 1936, Muriel King Archive, Special Collections The Gladys Marcus Library, FIT

seduction exhibition poster

December 9, 2008 – June 16, 2009

Seduction is traditionally defined as an act of temptation and enticement, often sexual in nature. Throughout history, men and women have utilized seductive clothing to enhance physical attractiveness, as well as to convey a sense of power and social status. Seduction, the first chronological survey to explore 250 years of sexuality in fashion, examined the complex relationship between seduction and clothing, presenting a visual history of sexuality, moral standards, and social norms all observed through the prism of fashion. At least 70 looks and 40 accessories were featured, including a black satin Belle Époque corset, red satin Manolo Blahnik stilettos, and a skintight black leather evening gown by John Galliano for Christian Dior.

Visit the online exhibition.

Halston evening dress, light blue silk jersey, circa 1972, USA, gift of Lauren Bacall, 76.69.17.

black and burgundry evening dress with large ruffled skirt and a high neckGothic: Dark Glamour
September 5, 2008 - February 21, 2009
Special Exhibitions Gallery

Online Exhibition

Gothic: Dark Glamour was the first exhibition devoted to the gothic style in fashion. Set in a dramatic mise-en-scene suggesting iconic gothic settings, such as the labyrinth, the ruined castle, and the laboratory, more than 75 ensembles were on display. Fashion designers featured include Alexander McQueen, Ann Demeulemeester, Boudicca, Comme des Garçons, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel Haute Couture, John Galliano for Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Hussein Chalayan, Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein, Christian Lacroix, Derek Lam, Gareth Pugh, Kei Kagami, Ricardo Tischi for Givenchy, Thierry Mugler, Rick Owens, Rodarte, Anna Sui, Olivier Theyskens, Jun Takahashi of Undercover, and Yohji Yamamoto. 

Learn more  about the exhibition.

Image: Yoshiki Hishinuma, evening dress, fall 1996, Japan, gift of Yoshiki Hishinuma

Past Exhibitions Archive

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