Fashion, store A-Z

Unbeknownst to many is the fact that within the intersection of Seventh Avenue and 27th Street lies one of the greatest fashion collections thus far from the Museum at FIT. Collections ranging from Christian Dior to Oscar de la Renta, prescription from Prada to Halston and more- are all a part of The Museum at FIT’s “Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of the Museum at FIT, Part One” exhibit.

The exhibit puts to light some of the most spectacular designers of modern fashion: from the infamous classic tweed suit by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, to the almost forgotten Indian-inspired sari evening gown by Elsa Schiaparelli’s fall 1935 collection – the two were rivals in their era.

It’s hard to believe how far couture has come in just one century, and also how often it repeats itself for later generations. Schaiparelli’s untraditional methods of style and design sparked whispers and gossip in the early 20th century and continue to inspire designers of today – as evident in Miuccia Prada’s funky black lace dress from Prada’s fall/winter 2008-2009 collection.

Thierry Mugler ensemble - Metallic silver lilac lamé and satin - Circa 1987, France - Museum purchase

I must say if you are a Chanel-lover, then you will certainly feel at home with the pieces on display. Starting from Chanel’s early career, is a black silk chiffon evening gown circa 1925. With its crystal seed beads, rhinestones, and silver leather detailing, you can almost hear the jazz music that would’ve played when a true flapper donned this dress. The Chanel feature continues with a classic maroon and green wool tweed suit from the Fall 1959 collection that every Upper East Side socialite would’ve lusted after. Karl Lagerfeld, who took over creative control of the fashion house in 1983, rounds out the feature with a black wool evening suit from 1986 and an irresistible black Victorian-style evening dress.

Valentino, evening dress, red silk, spring 2008, Italy, gift of Valentino.

Of course, the exhibit didn’t forget to include pieces that redefined a generation such as: Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress from the Fall 1965 collection and a red silk, Valentino Couture evening gown – which can be seen in the designer’s documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor.

My favorite piece? Ever a flare for the dramatics, I almost fell over when I saw Rick Owens’ bat wing jacket and skirt ensemble, which was a part of his fall 2008 “Glamour Meets Grunge” collection. With its sweeping lines and graceful silhouette, this piece personifies mysterious glamour and style.

Rick Owens, bat wing jacket and skirt,black denim, wool felt, distressed leather, grey silk crepe, fall 2008, France, gift of Rick Owens.

With that said, if you ever find yourself at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 27th Street, I highly recommend you make your way to the Museum at FIT before this exhibit closes, and all the fashion history…disappears. 

by Lifestyle correspondent, Maria Laurie Espino


The Museum at FIT is located at 227 West 27th Street.

The “Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of the Museum at FIT, Part One” exhibit closes on May 8th, 2012.