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April 20 2014

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1 posts tagged "The Great Designers: Part One"

Great Exhibitions

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In Manhattan, where a walk-in closet is a covetable luxury, finding the space to house over 50,000 garments and accessories is no small feat. Over the course of several years, that’s exactly what the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has managed to do. Now, a hand-picked selection of looks are coming out of storage for two consecutive exhibitions, The Great Designers: Part One (opened yesterday) and Part Two, along with a pair of books to match (due out next year).

“For the general public it’s going to be the big names—Armani, Chanel, Dior—that are the attraction, but personally, I’m really excited about the opportunity it gave us to build out our contemporary collection,” Valerie Steele, the museum’s director and chief curator, said at the press preview of the Part One exhibition (co-curated by Jennifer Farley and Colleen Hill) this morning. Of the tomes, highlighting 500 looks by 100 designers from the twentieth century onward, Steele added, “I have wanted to do a book for the museum with Taschen for a long time, ever since they did a fantastic publication for the Kyoto Costume Institute.”

Both the exhibitions and books gave Steele a fun excuse to “shop”—two of the most exciting purchases are a black wool coat with delicate gold embroidery from Alexander McQueen’s Fall 1997 collection for Givenchy and a liquid silver Thierry Mugler mermaid dress from 1987. Part One features approximately 50 garments from several generations of designers. It was surprising to see how easily current looks by designers like Prada (a black and baby blue guipure lace and cotton frock from the memorable Fall 2008 collection) blended with early-twentieth-century pieces. The black Paul Poiret silk faille coat from 1908, trimmed with fine black and gold fringe that doubled for fur at a distance, is great for today’s pelt-wary. An Elsa Schiaparelli gown in black rayon, cut on the bias and with a swirling flower print, had an asymmetrical shoulder seen on many of the gowns in recent runway seasons.

The Great Designers, Part One at the Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27th Street. On view November 29 to May 8, 2012.

Photo: Courtesy of The Museum at FIT