Tag Archives: Museum at FIT

MUSEUM AT FIT DOLL DISPLAY EVOKES OOHS AND OZ

In the Blink-And-You’ll-Miss-It category, a display of Wizard of Oz dolls wearing character-appropriate couture made a weeklong appearance in the lobby of The Museum at FIT earlier this month.

Dorothy Gale is looking very on trend in her gingham Reem Acra gown.

Dorothy Gale is looking very on trend in her gingham Reem Acra (Fashion Design ’86) gown.

To commemorate the classic film’s 75th anniversary, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and the Tonner Doll Company collaborated with a dozen name designers to create hot outfits for Oz characters. They were on display at The Museum at FIT for a week, during which anyone could bid on them, with all proceeds going to Habitat For Humanity’s (wait for it…) “There’s  No Place Like Home” campaign.

In the foreground, a red-headed Glinda by Ruth Myers. In the background, Betsey Johnson's Glinda in fabulous fuchsia.

In the foreground, a red-headed Glinda by Ruth Myers. In the background, Betsey Johnson’s Glinda in fabulous fuchsia.

The Wicked Witches commanded the premier prices. Donna Karan’s witch, seemingly inspired by Morticia Addams, went for $1,205. A Marc Jacobs fishnet witch fetched $1,525. And a Scandal-ous black-and-white Wicked Witch ensemble by Lyn Paolo (costume designer for the popular show) with Kerry Washington brought in a whopping $2,125! The Glindas weren’t far behind.

Dummy

Erickson Beamon’s disco glam Glinda earned $1,600 for Habitat For Humanity.

Hue is glad all these witches and Dorothys found homes–and that they helped people in need find homes of their own.

DESIGNING THE AMERICAN DREAM: ELIE TAHARI

Elie Tahari, the Israeli fashion designer known for the best and worst things a woman could possibly wear to a job interview—the designer suit and the tube top—visited FIT yesterday to celebrate 40 years in fashion.

He was interviewed by Patricia Mears, deputy director of The Museum at FIT, about his career.  He began an impecunious immigrant in New York City, sleeping in Central Park, and slowly built his brand into a $500 million empire.

Elie Tahari shares his wisdom with Patricia Mears in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre at FIT

Elie Tahari shared his wisdom with Patricia Mears in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre at FIT

He said he learned a lot by making clothes at every price point. “It’s easy to do beautiful clothes for $10,000. It’s harder to make clothes for a lot less.”

When a student asked him how to make it in the fashion industry, he replied that the current global market gives every designer, big and small, an equal opportunity. “If you do one good thing well, you have the internet, you have India and China, you have Europe, you have everybody.”

Tahari talked with students at a post-event reception.

Tahari talked with students at a post-event reception.

MESSAGES FROM THE TOP

Instead of holding meetings, the larger-than-life Vogue editrix Diana Vreeland communicated through memos, dictated from the privacy of her office (and sometimes her bathroom, where she had a phone installed). She sent them to editors, fashion designers, photographers, and anyone else involved in creating the magazine.

Her grandson, Alexander Vreeland, collected these missives, along with the images from Vogue that they helped engineer, in a coffee-table book, published by Rizzoli in 2013. On March 25, another of her grandsons, Nicholas Vreeland, and a great-grandson, Reed Vreeland, chatted about the book in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre. The event was part of The Museum at FIT’s Fashion Culture programming.

diana-vreeland-memos

Her missives are at turns funny, visionary, and insane. In one, she stressed the importance of seeing the ankle bones of Gypsies in editorial images. In another, she imagined a Vogue shoot taking place on the moon.

The letters were typed on many layers of onionskin. “If you got a clear memo, you were on top,” Nicholas remembered. “If you got a smudgy memo, you were probably the equivalent of an intern.”

She was relentless in getting her point across, often sending two or three memos about the importance of, say, the color gray.

“It’s very important to read them aloud,” Nicholas said. “You really get a sense of the way she used words.”

AUTHOR FRAN LEBOWITZ DISSES HALSTON, STRAIGHT PEOPLE, AND MEN IN SHORTS

The author, satirist, and professional talker Fran Lebowitz visited FIT last Friday. She submitted, if that’s the right word, to an on-stage interview with Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT, as part of a symposium, “A Queer History of Fashion,” which complemented the museum’s show of the same name.

An early moment in the exchange was fraught. Steele asked why Lebowitz refused to lend one of her suits for the show. Everyone leaned forward. Was some personal revelation forthcoming?

Nope. “I didn’t lend you one because I couldn’t live for six months without one of my suits,” Lebowitz said, referring to the length of the exhibition. “I don’t have enough [of them].”

Her career began in the early ’70s at Interview magazine, with Andy Warhol. As a denizen of his demimonde, she met many fashion designers, including Halston. “Halston was not someone I was very interested in,” Lebowitz said. “He was kind of a hick, actually. But he had huge parties, which are always good. His clothes were plastic. They were Ultrasuede, which is polyester, which is plastic.”

Steele asked how Lebowitz ended up on the Best-Dressed list. “People vote for you,” she said. “I’d rather be the mayor.”

Lebowitz has a famously bad case of writer’s block, though she’s quite relaxed—and quotable—in conversation. Steele said one question that kept coming up while preparing the show was why there are so many gay designers.

“Is that even a question?” Lebowitz said. “A better question is, ‘Why are there straight designers?’ Why are there straight men at fashion shows? Can’t something be done about that?”

Later she said that perhaps the correlation had to do with the fact that straight men “could have other jobs. There were few jobs where you could be gay.”

Steele asked if Lebowitz had a fashion bête noire. “To me, shorts,” she said. “I really do not want to see adult men wearing shorts. Ever. They’re suburban. When I see a grown man wearing shorts, I think, ‘You’re going to a cookout.” Baseball caps also draw her ire.

Asked to explain the appeal of leather, Lebowitz replied, “Sex. That’s the appeal. It’s durable. It lasts longer than sex. Which is why, at a certain age, you should give it up. It’s actually sad, at a certain age. It makes me sad. For them, not me.”

For the record, Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard make her suits, but she doesn’t go to London to be fitted. “I’m an Anglophobe,” she admitted. “They have a dress form of me, for sizing. It lives in London, so I don’t have to.” She has very particular tastes. Fabric, for example: “I could spend my entire life choosing fabrics.”  And, “I always ask for light-colored buttons,” a style somewhat against the grain. She’s also demanding about fit. She said, “At the point that a suit no longer fits, you should not go out.”

BEHOLD THE 21ST CENTURY SHOE OBSESSION

Sometimes the most beautiful works of art never see the light of day.

That fate befell Hue’s feature on Shoe Obsession at The Museum at FIT, that homage to droolworthy footwear which (sadly) closed April 13. Hue’s spring textile issue just got too jam-packed for a spread on shoes, even those as gorgeous as those The Museum displayed.

But in the age of the internet, nothing ever dies, not really. Loyal reader, clasp your hands with glee: you can read about Shoe Obsession here!