Detail of a 2006 dress by Jean Yu of black and white matte silk jersey and black grosgrain.
I don’t know if there were complaints from designers who weren’t included in The Museum at FIT’s latest show, originally titled The Great Designers, Part One, on view until May 8, 2012, but the museum briefly shut down the exhibit to rename it Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of the Museum at FIT, Part One.
The name change makes sense since co-curators Colleen Hill and Jennifer Farley stressed to me during the press preview that putting together this show allowed them to determine what the museum has and what it needs in its permanent collection. I also heard Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of the museum, tell a group of well-heeled women on a private tour, “For ‘U,’ we knew we didn’t have good Ungaro (Emanuel Ungaro, the famous Italian designer), but we had great Undercover.” So I think for the curators the focus was on getting a better handle on FIT’s entire collection rather than making a statement about which designers they considered great, and, by exclusion, which ones they did not.
Undercover (Jun Takahashi) 2006 dress of black crepe and black cotton, embellished with the knitted necklines of multiple black t-shirts.
A Geoffrey Beene evening dress of black wool crepe, dark gray wool jersey and rhinestones, from Spring 1994.
Both dresses are by Marc Bohan for Dior. On the left is a dress from Fall 1969 of printed pink silk chiffon, metal, and faux pearls. On the right is a dress of green silk velvet, metallic pampilles, rhinestones and glass, from the fall of 1963.
I adore the color and detailing of this dress, which comes with a little surprise, as shown in the next picture.
Surprise! Check out the back of this dress, which is not visible in the exhibition. I happened to find this picture online of the Dior house model wearing this beauty from when Bohan originally showed it in 1963. Demure in the front, sexy in the back! Photo by Corbis.
On the left Jean Yu’s 2006 dress. On the right, a Zoran ensemble of purple silk and silk cording from 1979.
The Museum at FIT’s permanent collection includes 50,000 garments and accessories. Can you imagine? That’s one (gigantic) closet I’d like to spend time in.
Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of the Museum at FIT, Part One is on view until May 8, 2012.
The Museum at FIT
Seventh Avenue and 27th Street
New York NY 10001-5992
Hours: Tuesday-Friday: Noon-8PM
Closed Sundays, Mondays, and legal holidays
Admission is free