On Saturday, December 15th, I met with other members of the Cornell Club to travel back to the Victorian Era and learn about the traditions of the Christmas past. We explored the Gramercy Park, Union Square and lower Sixth Avenue sections of the City to visit where a New York Victorian Christmas would be celebrated and honored.
We would be walking the old “Ladies Shopping Mile” that had been built up right after the Civil War when the disposable income for Middle and Upper Middle Class residents had increased after the Civil War and people wanted to spend their money at the newly built department stores, shops and restaurants. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing and shopping had changed with the development of the department store.
The tour took us past brownstones, parks, restaurants and old department stores that line the streets of Manhattan between East and West 21st Street…
This quirky little museum is located in the ‘A’ Building on the Fashion Institute of Technology campus and is a little ‘gem’ if there was ever one and I am not just saying that because I am a proud Alumnus of the college (Class of ’93). This museum is dedicated to the world of fashion and has had several revolving shows themed of fashion from the colleges extensive collection. The school really does know how to mount a show.
Please watch this video on the Museum at FIT.
About the Museum at FIT:
The Museum at FIT (MFIT) is the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion. Best known for its innovative and award-winning exhibitions, the museum has a permanent collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories dating from the eighteenth century to the present, MFIT is a member of the American Alliance of Museums. Its mission is to educate and inspire diverse audiences with innovative exhibitions and programs that advance knowledge of fashion.
For more information about The Museum at FIT, please visit fitnyc.edu/museum.
The museum is part of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a college of art and design, business and technology. FIT is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) and offers nearly 50 programs leading to AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees.
I have been to many shows at the museum over the years and the curators do a nice job mounting show from the College’s collection and from items that they borrow from other museums.
“Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968” examined the combined influence haute couture, ready-to-wear and popular culture, highlighting how changes that took place during this time period helped to shape the fashion industry as we know it today. Exhibitions and books about this era tend to focus on London as the center of innovative, youth-oriented design but this perspective overlooks the significant role that Paris continued to play in the fashion industry.
Like England, France had a large population of young people-more than eleven million of its citizens in 1958 were under 15 years old. This generation came of age during the 1960’s, listening to their own music, watching films featuring their own movie stars and frequenting their own boutiques. Paris’s creative output was singularly dynamic, far-reaching and innovative.
“Paris Refashioned” exhibition
Although the French ready-to-wear revolution did not truly begin until the 1960’s, the concept of lively, youth-oriented design had been set in motion during the previous decade. By the late 1950’s, a few young, talented couturiers-including Pierre Cardin, Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent-had made names for themselves. In 1957, the House of Christian Dior promoted 21 year old Saint Laurent to creative director.
While fashion insiders questioned the decision to place an unknown, seemingly naïve designer at the helm of such a prestigious institution, Saint Laurent’s first solo collection for Dior quickly silenced his detractors. His line of short, swinging A-line dresses-known as “Trapeze” dresses-was a critical and commercial success, ushering in an unmistakable shift toward more relaxed and ultimately, more youthful designers.
Another exhibition that I had seen in the past was “Pink: The History of Punk, Pretty and Powerful Color” running until January 5, 2019 and “Fashion Unraveled”, a guideline to ‘Behind the Seams’, ‘Repurposed Clothes’ and ‘Distressed and Deconstructed’ that ran through November 17, 2018.
The History of Pink video
I recently visited the museum for the “Dior + Balenciaga: The Kings of Couture and their Legacies” exhibition and it was an interesting approach to fashion after WWII. Both designers brought back a very feminine and wearable look to women that accented their bodies. What I thought was interesting is that the undergarment was stitched right into the garment and was a way to fit the garment to the woman.
“Dior + Balenciaga: The kings of Couture and their Legacies”
The exhibit showed a comparison of both designers and how they approached items such as dresses, coats and evening wear. Each had a way to form fit a woman. What I thought was interesting is that Dior just designed his garments and never worked on the construction whereas Balenciaga do all the draping of garments himself.
The exhibition continued with the new designers that took up the mantles of the houses when the founders died. It was a different take on the founders ideas but with a more modern twist. I think the classics still were the best and looked more professional on a woman.
Video on “Dior + Balenciaga” exhibition
Information and History of the Museum at FIT:
(From the Museum’s website):
For further information about the Fashion Institute of Technology, please visit fitnyc.edu.
An elite membership group, the Couture Council helps to support the exhibitions and programs of The Museum at FIT. Members receive invitation to exclusive events and private viewings. Annual membership is $1,000 for an individual or couple and $350 for a young associate( under the age of 35).
For more information, write to email@example.com or call (212) 217-4532.
Tours and donations
Every six months, a changing selection of garments, accessories and textiles from the museum’s permanent collection is put on display in the Fashion and Textile History Gallery, on the museum’s ground floor. Tours of the Fashion and Textile History Gallery and of the Special Exhibition Gallery may be arranged for a sliding fee of approximately $350. Donations of museum quality fashions, accessories and textiles are welcome.
For more information about tours, call (212) 217-4550. For information about donations, call (212) 217-4570.
All MFIT exhibitions and public programs are supported bin part by the couture council of The Museum at FIT.
The shows are continuously changing so please check the website for more detail on the current show. Below is a sampling of one of the shows earlier last year when I visited the museum.