Enter the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum, located at the main campus of FIT on 27th street and 7th avenue. On a brisk wintery day, there was crowds huddling in exhilaration at the idea of seeing some of the most groundbreaking work in the fashion industry – not just on a computer screen, but in front of you. I thank my lucky stars every day that I am able to live in this wondrous city – to be able to see such pieces of art and craftsmanship that literally make me stop and stare, lost in a world of simultaneously imagining myself wearing that amazing Marchesa gown, or even Thom Browne’s pheasant feather wool suit – and just pure awe.
“American Designers have always had an impact on how people dress” says Diane Von Furstenberg, current president of the CFDA. “In honor of that creativity, and in celebration of the CFDA’s 50th anniversary, we are proud to present, in partnership with The Museum at FIT, an exhibit that represents the tremendous work of our members for the last five decades. ‘Impact’ was the one word that came to mind immediately – it is so strong, and defining of our individual and collective influence that we knew right away that our exhibit would be called Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA.”
Designers who were active participants in Impact chose an object or ensemble that they felt “best represents their individual impact on the fashion world.” Curators of the exhibition also chose work by CFDA members to showcase, taking from the permanent collection of The Museum at FIT to bring together work of “exceptional vitality.”
After attending the conversation with CFDA’s Steven Kolb last week, I knew I had to pay a visit to this exhibition. I arrived at the museum, and headed downstairs to enter a dimly lit room. With iPads sitting in 2 sections of the room, you can scroll through the CFDA timeline, outlining the history of the foundation and members.
In an enclosed glass cases, lay beautiful art pieces, a beautiful large angelic Patricia Underwood hat from 1991, a Judith Leiber clutch, accessories that scream the designer’s name.
Walk to the next room, and enter a high ceiling(ed) gleaming exhibition. With designer’s chosen pieces set upon individual platforms, an exhibition light accenting each and every detail – wonderland and wanderlust – that was what I got. But my wanderlust was from the range of time periods exhibited in this room. The Halston gold dress from ’76 to the Olivier Theyskens dress from 2011, to a Fed Ex uniform designed by Stan Herman – this was the best form of time travel.
Showing through April 17th 2012 at the FIT Museum in New York City, Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA is an absolute must see.