Friday, February 10, 2012

Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA

Diane von Furstenberg speaks to the press at opening of Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA.

Diane von Furstenberg, in her remarks to the press at the new exhibit Impact: 50 Years of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which opens today at The Museum at FIT, stressed the motto of her native Belgium: “Unification Makes Strength.” Similar values, she said, are the foundation of the CFDA, begun in 1962 as the brainchild of fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert when, as von Furstenberg noted, “There was little recognition for American designers.”

Lambert wanted to change that so she and 50 leading designers of the time formed a council to promote American fashion. For von Furstenberg, the current President of the CFDA, American fashion is all about the impact—a key word that she said kept coming up in her conversations with FIT co-curators Patricia Mears and Fred Dennis about an exhibit to celebrate the CFDA’s 50th anniversary, to the point that it became the title of the show. It is also about commercial success. “Commercial is not a dirty word,” von Furstenberg said. “American fashion is about the success of design, the success of popularity.”

Oscar de la Renta speaks to the press. I was so excited to see him!

Mr. de la Renta said John Fairchild, the publisher of Women’s Wear Daily from 1960 to 1996, was another huge promoter of American fashion in the early days of the CFDA.

Left to right, Tory Burch, Yeohlee Teng, and Mary McFadden (looking so old school glamorous in a full length fur coat and beret!).

Donna Karan spoke of the mentorship aspect of the CFDA, with older designers helping the younger ones. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Anne Klein,” she said. Karan worked for Klein early in her career.

Each of the approximately 100 garments and accessories on display was chosen by a member-designer as the most representative of their work, and the exhibit as a whole is a stunning testament to the breadth of American design and the rich heritage young designers of today have to inspire them.

A Mary McFadden ensemble from 1979.

Detail from the McFadden ensemble. Look at the color, look at the pleating!

A 1985 Donna Karan ensemble.

Norman Norell evening set, gold sequined camel silk jersey sheath dress and cashmere coat with sequined lining, circa 1958. Gift of Lauren Bacall.

A 1971 Sidney Wragge dress.

Left to right, a dress by Thakoon, a Yeohlee Teng ensemble, and a Proenza Schouler dress.

A simple and lovely cream-colored dress by Halston from 1976.

Oscar de la Renta silk taffeta gown with black Guipure lace jacket, Spring 2012.

Detail of black Guipure lace jacket by Oscar de la Renta from his Spring 2012 collection.

Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA is on view through April 17, 2012.

The Museum at FIT
Seventh Avenue and 27th Street
New York NY 10001-5992
Hours: Tuesday-Friday: Noon-8PM
Saturday: 10AM-5PM
Closed Sundays, Mondays, and legal holidays
Admission is free


Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Oh JIll...thank you...I would have loved to have been at this and cover it...but having you do this for us is the next best thing! The advantages of living in New York..each designer picture and pictures of the styles was an enjoyment..great post!

jill815 said...

Hi Pam, I would've loved to have you there in the room, covering this exhibit too! This was my New York Fashion Week event since I haven't tried to get into any shows. I have to say, it was kind of wonderful to have so many famous designers in one room! XO, Jill

Jeanne said...

Jill, how wonderful for you to have been able to attend this function. I can hear the delight in your post:-) Thanks for bring it home to us! XO J

jill815 said...

Hi Jeanne, how are you? I had such a great time at this preview. Come back on Monday because I am working on another post about something fun that happened that morning! XO, Jill

Anonymous said...

Were you there as press? What a thrilling collection of designers and such beautiful pieces. I shall probably dream of a sequined lined coat tonight.