Inside The Museum at FIT’s Fairy Tale Fashion Exhibition Opening

Friday, January 15, 2016

Once upon a time, a magical world of mythical creatures, spellbinding events, and epic bedtime stories—aka fairy tales—took over the imagination of designers across the globe.

To celebrate the wondrous pieces from collections inspired by tales of make-believe through the decades, comes the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s newest exhibition. Named Fairy Tale Fashion, and curated by Colleen Hill, the exhibition opens today and features a number of enchanting pieces including a 1987 ensemble by Thierry Mugler illustrating The Little Mermaid, a Spring 2015 Comme des Garçons ensemble illustrating Little Red Riding Hood, and a Fall 2007 dress by Alexander McQueen illustrating Rapunzel. Oh, and who can miss the Fall 2009-2010 red Lady Lynch stilettos by Christian Louboutin illustrating The Wizard of Oz?

Hill, who had spent a year and a half curating the exhibition, dedicated six months to in-depth research on the history of fairy tales, starting with early translations written by Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Andersen, and the Brothers Grimm. “In many cases, tales like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty have hundreds if not thousands of versions, and they vary from culture, author, translator, and time period,” she said last night during the exhibition’s opening party. “It’s incredibly fascinating and surprising.”

Step inside the museum, and you’ll find an introductory space featuring illustrations by early 20th century artists including Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham, and A.H. Watson. In addition, photographs by Kirsty Mitchell’s Wonderland series fill the room. The main gallery includes more than 80 objects reflecting 14 classic fairy tales presented within four archetypal settings (the Forest, Castle, Sea, and Parallel Worlds) designed by architect Kim Ackert.

“The process of the exhibition has been really fun. There is no one way to view a fairy tale character, so the way I view it may not be the same as anyone else—it’s really a unique and creative way to curate an exhibition,” said Hill. “I hope it will inspire everyone who comes to see the show.” With these beautiful ensembles, we’re sure the characters lived happily (and fashionably) ever after.

Fairy Tale Fashion is on view now at the Museum at FIT (Seventh Avenue at 27 Street) through April 16.

Photos by Hunter Abrams/


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