3 posts tagged "Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)"
While a flurry of New York editors head to Europe, another style set is focusing stateside. Ivy Style, which opened this week, is the latest exhibition at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), centered around that oh-so-American way of blue-blooded dressing. “When looking at images from the twenties and thirties, most of the chic and progressive people were college students from Ivy League schools,” says Patricia Mears, the museum’s deputy director, who co-curated the exhibit, which tracks the growth of collegiate dressing from the early twentieth century to present day. “Back then, men’s fashion magazines would tell readers, ‘If you want to see what’s cutting-edge, go watch a game at Princeton.’ “
To that end, the room’s vibe reads like a secret society meeting rather than a historical retrospective, dressed as a university quad and filled with Shetland tweeds, oxford button-downs, polo coats, and the emblematic prep apparel—the navy blazer. “Pre-World War II was more of a formal era, so it was necessary to dress well within a certain social context,” Mears told Style.com, citing that avant-garde students would rebelliously pair cricket sweaters with sports jackets in the classroom. The show’s centerpiece? A raccoon fur coat styled over a tweed suit—a look popular in the 1920s and even heralded by Miles Davis, who would get his clothing tailored at Charlie Davidson’s famed Andover Shop in Boston. (Mears juxtaposed the fur and tweed ensemble with a Perry Ellis women’s suit circa 1970 to highlight the former’s influence.)
“Today the term ivy means something different,” mused Mears, who peppered the exhibition with contemporary ensembles including a Thom Browne studded suit circa 2009 as well as looks from Michael Bastian, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger. “Preppy has become a fashion term, which we think of as youthful and brightly colored, but back then, it was much more formal and influenced some of the coolest, hippest dressers ever.” Ivy Style runs through January 5 at the Museum at FIT.
The opening A-line minidress at the Youthquake! The 1960s Fashion Revolution exhibition at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is cooler than the brisk March weather. Protected by a glass case, the frock by Harry Gordon features a blown-up, black and white screen-printed image of Bob Dylan. “The sixties is such a fun topic,” said Cassidy Zachary, a graduate student at FIT’s fashion and textiles program who co-curated the exhibit with classmate Tracy Jenkins. “A lot of the styles were for young people,” she added. “It was innovative with radical silhouettes and materials like vinyl, paper, plastic, and metal.” Dylan’s mug, for example, was printed on a rayon-nylon blended paper-type textile.
The mod era, which began in London in the early sixties, kicked off the raucous fashion decade. Musicians were a big influence, and trends, in a change that’s been carried on to today, traveled the street on up. The rebellious minidresses were adopted by the American masses (see: J.C. Penney’s collaboration with Mary Quant), while in Paris, they were given the luxury treatment (cue the rise of ready-to-wear lines and the futuristic designs of André Courrèges). Compared to the prim ensembles of the fifties, the new silhouettes were made for movement.
“A lot of social revolutions were going on at the time,” Jenkins pointed out. “People think of the seventies as antiestablishment, but it started in the sixties. Fashion exhibitions are a great way to draw people to history.” And it wasn’t only liberated women who had all the fun. Men were also able to cut loose from the staid Don Draper suits by embracing print and color, such as the daring Ruben Torres leopard-print suit on display. With the head-to-toe pattern and mandarin collar, it might have easily slipped into Elton John’s current closet.
Youthquake! The 1960s Fashion Revolution is on display at the Museum at FIT from March 6 to April 7.