So... I walked into the Museum at FIT, not knowing what this exhibit with such an uninspiring title would be, and wearing my truly skeptically negative, New York City attitude. Nose scrunched, upper lip curled, I thought, "What a lazy idea. Yeah, I get it. I think I'll pass. "A" for Adrian, "B" for Balmain... whatever... yawn." Yes, there was a part one. Yeah, I missed it. But with some time to kill, I entered the display space.
I am very happy to report that I was wrong. FIT hit it out of the park. Again.
On an academic level, I appreciated this range of garments that reflect the range of the fabulous featured designers' capabilities, aesthetic combination of materials, and appreciation of the lifestyles and attitudes of the times and clients for whom they were made. I truly didn't expect to get so much out of seeing and appreciating all of the differences. And it all works as a group. It works as a presentation. I came away feeling that my horizons were expanded. Yes, there is room in this world for both this AND that. All equally valid. Just different lifestyles, customer, tastes, people...
Not only that, but beautifully contradicting some of the points I addressed in my "Quality" post, I saw that some of the featured designs were even made of materials such as "synthetic sheer" and "poly"! And the quality of these designs still shone through. I stand corrected by these masters.
Maybe it is just me, but I don't think the name and description of this exhibit would bring anyone out of their home to see it specifically, so let me share some of the highlights:
A magical Charles James dress (Be sure to click through for that link; there couldn't possibly be a better photograph to show how lifelike this creation is...) , circa 1955. Beautifully sculpted, looks like it could take a breath on its own. No figure supports it in this exhibit. The dress is pure sculpture, in smooth, beautiful pink(ish) silk.
The work of the costume designer Irene, whose name I did not know, but whose magic I have since discovered!
A striped dress by Jill Sander, so simple, clean, and timeless. Sorta exaggerates the horror you feel at imagining what wide, horizontal stripes could do to your body, but pretty for the right person!
And the wonderful, brain-bending designs of Comme des Garcons, which have always thrilled me.
You've got until November 10, 2012 to see it.
Highlights from the Museum of FIT
Seventh Avenue at 27th Street
New York, NY
Saturday 10am- 5pm
Closed on Sundays, Mondays and holidays.
Rumor has it that there's a companion book as well, but when it will be available seems to be a bit of a mystery at the moment...