Fashion

FIT Celebrates Paris Fashion in New York

Friday, February 24, 2017
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Paris is always a good idea. Last night, The Museum at FIT held a reception for its latest exhibition inspired by the City of Light. In Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968, curator Colleen Hill showcases the influence of French haute couture, ready-to-wear and popular culture through iconic clothing and accessories of that convulsive period, sourced from the institution’s permanent collection.


Having studied the 1960s since childhood, Hill noticed that for many, fashion’s focus locked on London as the center of innovative, youth-oriented design in that optimistic era. “The more you dive into this era, the more you realize that yes, fashion is important in London, but so too in Paris. It continues to have an influence. It’s dynamic and interesting in its own way,” she says. “For the exhibition, I began in 1957 because it was the year that Christian Dior died and was replaced by Yves Saint Laurent, who was 21-years-old at the time. Then I end in 1968, when couturiers began designing ready-to-wear lines—that really marks the moment people started to see that this is the future of fashion.” It was also the moment that the Sixties turned a darker hue.


The introductory gallery includes a selection of more than 30 objects dating from 1957 to 1960. There, you’ll find Saint Laurent’s “Trapeze” dress in black wool and Cristóbal Balenciaga “Baby Doll” dress with black lace, silk crepe and pink satin.


The larger gallery space next door delves into the 1961 to 1968 time period with 80 objects, from a Karl Lagerfeld-designed Chloé evening dress in hand-painted ivory silk and the classic Chanel “2.55” bag in navy blue leather and gold metal. Named after the month and year it was released, the bag rose in popularity in the Sixties, when it was carried by stars Catherine Deneuve and Sylvie Vartan.


Meanwhile, on the main floor, guests were toasting to the occasion. FIT Couture Council member Jean Shafiroff arrived and mingled among friends. “Courrèges was a real trendsetter back in the 60s,” says Shafiroff, who was dressed in a neon yellow jacket and white skirt by the designer with a green circular-shaped Lisa Perry bag.


The exhibition coincides with the release of the book of the same title, published by Yale University Press. Overseen by Hill, the 252-page volume features essays by Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator at The Museum at FIT, among others, and elaborates on style icons of the time period as well as their roles in fashion.


“Our goal here is to educate and inspire diverse audiences,” says Dr. Steele. “Some people have a mistaken idea that fashion reflects history. It’s not true, fashion is a part of history and sometimes it pushes ideas forward, even before events happen. That’s an exciting thing to remember.”


The Paris Refashioned 1957-1968 will be on view until April 15 at The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27 Street.




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