On James Galanos (1924–2016)

By Katherine Prior, Monday, March 27, 2022

This essay is written as an assignment for the AHMP senior class “Exhibitions” project ΜΟΔΑ IS FASHION. The exhibition is on display at the State University of New York’s FIT campus Gladys Marcus Library in Spring and Summer 2022.

Fig. 1. Galanos, Evening dress, 1970. Silk ribbed chiffon. New York: The Museum at FIT, 86.80.1. Gift of Maurice S. Polkowitz, 1986.

James Galanos (1924–2016) designed this chiffon dress for his spring/summer 1970 collection, tapping into his Greek heritage by using fabrics featuring motifs inspired by ancient Greek pottery. This particular garment is reminiscent of red-figure style Greek pottery, which is characterized by drawings of delicate linework on raw terracotta base set against a darkly glazed background.

Motifs on the dress include lions, a sculpture resembling David standing over the head of Goliath, and swirling shapes evocative of ionic columns. The chiffon used in this collection was designed by Tzaims Luksus (born in 1932), an American designer and textile artist who was also a guest lecturer and consultant at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Born to Greek parents in Philadelphia in 1924, Galanos began drawing from a young age. He enrolled in the Traphagen School of Fashion in New York City at the age of 18 with dreams of becoming a costume designer for film. However, he only stayed at the school for a few months before leaving in search of more hands-on experience. After a few years of working in Paris and New York, Galanos headed west to California, where he created his first fashion collection in 1951. He took the finishing techniques and workmanship he had learned in Paris and applied it skillfully to his own garments, referring to his work as “custom ready-to-wear” rather than couture. His first collection was purchased by Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills and Galanos’s renown grew from there. In 1954, at the age of 29, Galanos became the youngest winner of the Coty Award (considered the “fashion Oscars” of the time) and proceeded to win the award again two years later. In 1984, he became the first recipient of the Coty Lifetime Achievement Award.

This dress from 1970 is notable for the way that it is both distinctly characteristic of Galanos yet also daring for its time in terms of fashion trends. Chiffon was one of Galanos’s design trademarks throughout his career, and this collection showed off the smocked chiffon that he was known for. What made Galanos’s 1970 collection surprising at the time, despite its solid connections to Galanos’s typical design style, was its length. The miniskirt had been the hallmark of the 1960s, and though some designers were cautiously experimenting with longer skirts, none of them went as far as Galanos did as he ushered in the maxi skirt trend of the 1970s. Although his designs for this collection drew from the past, Galanos was designing for the future.

Note: From November 1976 to February 1977, FIT celebrated “Galanos – 25 years.” Among those attending the opening gala on November 23, 1976 were the Greek Ambassador and his wife, philanthropists and members of the wealthy Greek elite in Manhattan including Dora Goulandris Voridis and members of the Coumantaros family.

Further Reading

Coffey-Webb, Louise and Sandra Rosenbaum. 2005. “James Galanos.” Dress, 32(1), 66–74.

Collins, Amy Fine. 2007. “When Galanos spelled glamour.” Vanity Fair, 49(1), April 14.

Morris, Bernadine. 1970. “Galanos abandons short hems—completely.” The New York Times, February 10.

Oakley, John. 2013. The Greek Vase: Art of the Storyteller. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum

About the Author

Katherine Prior is a senior in the AHMP program and is currently interning at The Museum at FIT. Her research interests are concentrated in film, television, and media studies.

Current Favorite Reading or Art Exhibition

An exhibition I’m currently looking forward to seeing is Guarding the Art at the Baltimore Museum of Art (March 27, 2022 to July 10, 2022). It features artworks curated by the BMA’s Security department.

On Jean Dessès (1904–1970)

By Zoe Klipstein, Monday, March 28, 2022

This essay is written as an assignment for the AHMP senior class “Exhibitions” project ΜΟΔΑ IS FASHION. The exhibition is on display at the State University of New York’s FIT campus Gladys Marcus Library in Spring and Summer 2022.

Fig. 1 Evening dresses by Jean Dessès, The Museum at FIT, 96.112.1 and 91.135.6, Gifts of Lady Arlene Kieta and Francine Gray. Photograph: The Museum at FIT.

Jean Dessès (1904–1970), whose beautiful gowns can be found in many major museums such as the Museum at FIT, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, began his fashion career at an early age.

Born to Greek parents in Egypt in 1904, Dessès was one of the estimated 150,000 Greeks living in Alexandria in the early 20th century. Those Greeks included writers Constantine Cavafy (1863–1933) and Penelope Delta (1874–1941). For all of them, Greek heritage played an inspirational role during their life. The Greek population in Egypt reached its peak in 1927, in the aftermath of the defeat of the Greek Army in Asia Minor in 1922.

Fig. 2 Water front at Alexandria, Egypt, from Palace Ras el Tin, between 1910 and 1926, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-F82- 1004.

Dessès worked first for a small couture house named Maison Jane. He opened his own couture house in 1937, and gained a lot of clients after the end of WW2. Around 1955, he opened a small boutique in Athens and would permanently move to Greece in 1960. Dessès did his major work primarily during the 1950s and 60s.

Dessès was well-known for his evening gowns. Many of these gowns are held in museum collections worldwide. Some are still worn by movie stars. In 2006, actress Jennifer Lopez wore a vintage green Jean Dessès dress to the Oscars. His dresses were inspired by classical Greek and Egyptian statuary and art, while still reflecting the trends of the time. After WW2, fashion shifted drastically because of the increased availability of different kinds of fabric. This was reflected in the creation of bigger skirts with more elaborate designs. Because the war was over, women no longer were expected to work and were expected to resume their feminine image causing a shift towards a more feminine silhouette in design. The way that Dessès took inspiration from classical Greek sculpture in his designs, creates a timeless image for his work. He uses complicated pleated patterns and light, delicate fabric that could make any woman feel like a goddess.

The dress introduced in ΜΟΔΑ IS FASHION is held in the collections of the museum at FIT (96.112.1). It is a blue evening dress from 1956. The bodice is corseted and decorated with a complicated series of plates that would accentuate the wearers’ waist to achieve the desirable figure of the time. The skirt is made of layers of yellow and blue chiffon that makes the skirt have a very full and romantic feeling. It feels as though the dress was made for movement. This dress was last on display in Ballerina: Fashion’s Modern Muse in 2020 where I was able to see it in person for the first time.

While he is not as widely known today as he was then, Dessès’ dresses are still on display. An overall assessment of his career and legacy will be possible when dispersed archival and material collections can be reassembled and a biography of his life has been written.

Further Reading

Kitroeff, Alexander. 2019. The Greeks and the Making of Modern Egypt. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press.

Leontis, Artemis, Lauren E. Talalay and Keith Taylor. 2002. What these Ithakas mean: Readings in Cavafy. Exhibition, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. Ann Abor. The University of Michigan Press.

Mears, Patricia et al. eds. 2019. Ballerina: Fashion’s Modern Muse. New York: Abrams.

Tziovas, Dimitris. 2009. Greek Diaspora and Migration since 1700: Society, Politics and Culture. Farnham: Ashgate.

Wilcox, Claire. 2007. The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957. London, Victoria & Albert Museum.

About the Author

Zoe Klipstein is a senior in the AHMP program and the Vice President of the AHMP Association. Zoe is interested in art and fashion history and wishes to one day further her education in fashion history.

Current Favorite Reading or Art Exhibition

Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, December 10, 2021 to March 6, 2022.

On Identities

By John Paul Jang, Sunday, March 20, 2022

This essay is written as an assignment for the AHMP senior class “Exhibitions” project ΜΟΔΑ IS FASHION. The exhibition is on display at the State University of New York’s FIT campus Gladys Marcus Library in Spring and Summer 2022.

Fig. 1 Open-toe wedge plateau shoes, Delman, c. 1940. The Museum at FIT. 71.263.3. Gift of Yeffe Kimball Slatin (1914-1978).

These open-toe wedge sandals were once owned by American artist Yeffe Kimball (1914–1978). They were designed by an American shoemaker with conscious artistic decisions to express a break with traditional women’s shoe ware and their role during World War II, consisting of motifs inspired by ancient Greek designs. The designer incorporated societal desire by combining wedge heels and Greek symbols of victory. Much has been written about their owner Kimball by scholars such as Bill Anthes and Sarah Anne Stolte in recent years. But how did she express herself in daily life through her fashion choices?

The imagery of the figures in these sandals resembles that of Greek vases containing red-figure techniques: a glazing technique invented in ca. 530–525 BCE in Corinth. In this technique, the figures were left as the earthy color of the clay, and details were added in a black glaze. These sandals only mimic the visual representation of the ancient Greek technique because the designs are stitched on. The figures depict armored warriors with courageous and active stances. Images of Greek victory were a prevalent theme in art in the 5th century BCE, such as those that appear in Terracotta Nolan amphora, ca. 480-470 BCE at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The scene depicts a Greek victory over the Persians, which was a unique theme as mythological battles were a dominantly popular theme during the time. The scene on the sandals also mirrors ancient sculptures such as those depicted on the Temple of Aphaia on the island of Aegina, created around the same time in 480 BCE.

Fig. 2 Fallen Warrior from the pedimental sculptures of the temple of Aphaia on the island of Aegina in Greece, today in Munich, c. 480 BCE (still from Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker, “East and West Pediments from the Temple of Aphaia, Aegina,” in Smarthistory, December 9, 2015, accessed March 20, 2022, https://smarthistory.org/east-and-west-pediments-from-the-temple-of-aphaia-aegina/.)

The blue and white colors of the wedge heels also have a symbolic character beyond its connection to modern-day Greece. Azure blue and white are the national colors of Greece as they appear in its national flag. Blue and white appear in the symbol of the United Nations established on October 24, 1945, which became a symbol of international peace and security. The artist expressed the desire for peace and unity during the turbulent time of World War II.

Wedge heels were invented by Italian fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo (1898–1960) in 1936. In the 1930s and 1940s, shoes that revealed the toes were uncommon as they were considered immodest. The outbreak of WWII led to the shortage of materials such as leather, resulting in it only being used exclusively for soldiers’ boots. While felt, help, straw, and textiles became common materials for shoes, the invention of wedge heels provided more comfort than other kinds of women’s shoes, such as oxford heels and pumps. Wedge heels allowed women to do “man’s work” and perform masculine jobs while allowing themselves to have femininity and return to the pre-war roles. While we may not be able to answer why Yeffe Kimball chose to wear such a pair, the sandals are a testament to her complex identity.


Further Reading

Anthes, Bill. 2006. “Becoming Indian: The Self-Invention of Yeffe Kimball,” In Native Moderns. American Indian Painting, 1940–1960, edited by Nicholas Thomas, 117–42. Duke University Press.

O’Keeffe, Linda. 1996. Shoes: A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers and More, New York, Workman.

Olds, Lauren. 2001. World War II and Fashion: The Birth of the New Look. Constructing the Past, vol. 2, no. 1, ser. 6, 47–53.

Stolte, Sarah Anne. 2019. “Hustling and Hoaxing: Institutions, Modern Styles, and Yeffe Kimball’s ‘Native’ Art,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 43 (4): 77–92.

About the Author

John Paul Jang serves as the Senator of the Art History and Museum Professions Program. She is the Student Chair of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences DEI Committee, and is the founder of the Art Historian and Museum Professional Association (AHMPA).

Current Favorite Reading or Art Exhibition

I was impressed to see Sophie Tauber-Arp: Living Abstraction at MoMA (November 21, 2021 to March 12, 2022). Beyond her avant-garde craftsmanship about which I learned in Professor Weinstein’s Dada & Surrealism class, I love her playful experiments in colors and geometric composition.

On Despina Messinesi (1911–2003)

By Frida Loyola, Sunday, March 20, 2022

This essay is written as an assignment for the AHMP senior class “Exhibitions” project ΜΟΔΑ IS FASHION. The exhibition is on display at the State University of New York’s FIT campus Gladys Marcus Library in Spring and Summer 2022.

A type written letter with her hand written signature, sent by Despina Messinesi (1911–2003) to Thomas Drew at the Galleries at FIT on March 23, 1975, is preserved in accession files with The Museum of FIT. The letter informed Drew about the original whereabouts of the ensembles she had just donated. These ensembles included a New Look 1951 dress by Christian Dior and a 1955 Jean Dessès chiffon.

Fig. 1 Evening dress, Christian Dior 1951. Gift of Despina Messinesi, The Museum at FIT 75.86.5.

Like something out of an Audrey Hepburn movie. (Stephen Miller 2003).

From a 2003 obituary and other archival documents preserved, we learn that she was born as Despina Georgia Plakias to Greek immigrants from Ioannina in a suburb of Boston in 1911. She lost her father at the age of 11.

Fig. 2 Despina Plakias, then 18 years, as Monsieur Beaucaire in the Senior Play of the 1929 class, on the left. “Despina and Doris stand together; German Play,” June 1929, Abbot Collections, accessed March 20, 2022.

An early photograph shows the 18 year old Despina dressed up as Monsieur Beaucaire for a student theater play at Abbot Academy in Andover, MA. Based on a 1900 novel, the novel gained new fame in a silent movie with Rudolph Valentino in 1924 which in turn served as the inspiration for the play. The Andover Townsman from June 7, 1929 described Despina’s performance as “outstanding …[…]… With charm of voice, expression and manner, her Beaucaire dominated every situation with a simple, easy grace.”

In the same summer of 1929, Despina traveled to Greece, visiting her grandmother. Here she met her future husband, the wealthy Greek shipping magnate Miltiades Leon Messinesi (born 1895), and got married. Messinesi’s father was a former General Consul in London. According to a news feature submitted by Despina’s brother John Plakias to the New York Times in 1931 she began living in Athens in Greece around the same time. During these years, she continued to travel and began to work as a fashion reporter in Paris.

As Artemis Leontis has shown in her brilliant biography of the American Hellenophile Eva Palmer Sikelianos (18741952), the 1930s brought a new wave of great interest in Greek fashion to New York City. The city was excited about Greek fashion. Thanks to a friendship with curator Gisela Richter, the Metropolitan Museum of Art featured an exhibition on Palmer Sikelianos’ fashion creations in the summer of 1937, and two years later the Greek government lent a number of original ancient Greek sculptures to the World’s Fair in Queens in New York City.

During all these years, Despina “Madam Milto Messinesi” traveled back and forth between Athens, London, Paris and New York. She moved back more permanently to New York City in 1941, and began to work for Vogue shortly thereafter. A funny story relates to her first day at work in April 1941 and was described by the biographer of her obituary as follows:

Hired at $25 a week, she actually took off her first day of work in order to run a publicity stunt for Greek war relief, leading a herd of flower-bedecked donkeys through New York’s streets and to the Ritz. Coming into the Vogue offices the next morning, she was surprised to find that everyone seemed to know her already. Then she learned why: A half-page photo of her hugging a donkey had appeared in that morning’s paper.

Photographs from the event at the Ritz Carlton Hotel are preserved. I was able to identify and read most of her Vogue articles and collected information on the dresses she donated to the FIT Galleries. In her own voice she introduces herself as a “little shop-hound, size 10,” to the Vogue readers in April 1944.

Over the next decades, she became Vogue‘s main fashion editor, traveling places far and wide. During these decades, she became known for her sense of elegance. Ensembles owned by The Museum at FIT today including the black dress 77.17.3, possibly by fellow Greek diaspora designer Jean Dessès, a silk satin with polychrome ribbon, silk floss embroidery, and rhinestones by Christian Dior 1951 (75.86.5), or dress 81.232.1 by Christian Dior New York 1954 were part of her fashionable wardrobe, and made her indeed appear like out of an Audrey Hepburn movie.

Fig. 3 Despina Messinesi modeling and writing. From Vogue, April 15, 1944, vol 103 (8), pp. 80-81. A copy of the volume owned by the FIT periodicals collection is on display in the exhibition.

Vogue featured her work on the royal Greek family, and several travel stories, sometimes from Greece, are part of her oeuvre. Today, The Museum at FIT and The Metropolitan Museum of Art house Messinesi’s donations. Her dresses are as diverse as fascinating and include a pair of American underwear pants from 1916, a fine woolen dress by French fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro (19332017) from the late 1960s and others. The voice of her writings for Vogue remains in FIT’s Library periodical collections. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Further Reading

Leontis, Artemis. 2019. Eva Palmer Sikelianos: A Life in Ruins. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Miller, Stephen. 2003. Despina Messinesi, Long Time Editor at Vogue, 92. Obituary, July 2003.

O’Shea Borrelli, Laird. 1997. “Dressing Up and Talking about It: Fashion Writing in Vogue from 1968 to 1993,” Fashion Theory 1.3 (1997), 247–59.

About the Author

Frida Loyola enrolled in the AHMP program after attending the Pink symposium in 2018 at the Museum at FIT. She plans to blend her design experience with Museum Studies and work as a Fashion Historian.

Current Favorite Reading or Art Exhibition

One of my favorite, and recent, exhibitions was The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming at the Peabody Essex Museum. The trials serve as an example of injustice and intolerance in our country’s history and remind us that history can indeed repeat itself.

ΜΟΔΑ IS FASHION: An Introduction

ΜΟΔΑ IS FASHION opens on Monday March 21 at the FIT Gladys Marcus Library.

Written by Alex Nagel, Sunday, March 20, 2022

Beginning this week, the State University of New York’s FIT will be celebrating Greek-American Heritage Month with an exhibition curated by the Senior AHMP Seminar class of 2022.

Students in the AHMP Senior class prepared exciting essays about the legacies of Greek fashion designers, writers and illustrators at SUNY FIT in New York City. Donations and archives of individuals such as Despina Messinesi (1911–2003), George Stavropoulos (1920–1990), James Galanos (1924–2016), George Stavrinos (1948–1990), and others are at The Museum at FIT and at the Special Collections and College Archives (SPARC). A Greek translation of this introduction, kindly provided by AHMP Senior student Chrysa Tasioula, follows below.

Many of those introduced here were born in America, traveled or lived in Greece for some time. All were inspired by ancient motifs or referenced ancient monuments throughout their careers which we hope to introduce here. Essays written by the students will shine a light on some of these creatives and their legacies at FIT and in New York City. Thank you for reading our essays! Thank you for visiting the exhibition! Σας ευχαριστώ που διαβάσατε την ελληνική μετάφραση πιο κάτω!

Looking closer, one finds that there are many Greek treasures in the Museum, Archives and Library at FIT. Take, for a start, the elegant wardrobe and fashion ensembles by Despina “Depy” Messinesi (19112003). Working for over 52 years at Vogue, she donated gowns and accessories to SUNY’s Manhattan campus at FIT. ΜΟΔΑ IS FASHION also features facsimiles of original illustrations by fashion illustrator George Stavrinos (1948–1990). Posthumously honored with a Society of Illustrators Award in 2007, FIT’s SPARC owns original illustrations, and an illustration from 1980 is on the ΜΟΔΑ IS FASHION exhibition poster.

When Alexandros Rizos Rangavis (1809–1892), the first official Greek ambassador to Washington, D.C., visited New York City in 1867, he was impressed by the New Yorkers. He singled out the broad streets, Central Park and the holdings of the New York Historical Society. While he returned to Athens, many Greeks began immigrating and settling in New York. Today, the largest population of Greeks in New York City lives in Astoria in Queens. Since 1998, a copy of the so-called Piraeus Athena is standing in Athens Square Park as a gift from Athenians to New Yorkers.

We are indebted to the Gladys Marcus Library at FIT colleagues and staff who were so kind to lent us exhibition space. We owe particular thanks to Greta Earnest, James Ferguson and the Library Exhibitions Committee.

Thank you to all the staff at the Special Collections and College Archives (SPARC) team, the Library at FIT, our colleagues at The Museum at FIT, and the Office of the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at FIT and the FIT Diversity Collective, in particular Karen Trivette, April Callahan, Nanja Andriananjason, Eileen Flannigan, Gabriella Bucciarelli, Helen Lane, Sonia Dingilian and Melissa Marra-Alvarez.

Support came from Justine De Young, History of Art, Mary Tsujimoto and Patrick Knisley, FIT’s Dean of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Division. We also are grateful for the help with the translations, kindly provided by AHMP student Chrysa Tasioula.

The AHMP Senior Exhibitions class curators include Liana Arkay, Matthew Balcom, Sophie Benzakein, Nadine Hauser, Ivette Hodnovich, John Paul Jang, Zoe Klipstein, Frida Loyola, Richard Montañez, Vanessa Munoz, Tessa Norton, Stephanie O’Donnell, Natalia Orestis, Katherine Prior and Abigail Rodriguez.

ΜΟΔΑ IS FASHION is on display at the FIT Gladys Marcus Library, on 227 West 27th Street in New York City in Spring and Summer 2022.

Further Reading

The First Greek Ambassador to the American Federation 1867–1868. From the Memoirs of Alexandros Rizos Rangavis. Translated by Christine Gabrielides. Nostos Books, 2019.

Hamilakis, Yannis. 2007. The Nation and its Ruins. Antiquity, Archaeology, and National Imagination in Greece. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Moskos, Charles. 1990. Greek Americans: Struggle and Success. New Brunswick: Transaction.

Rozeas, Christina. 2012. Greeks in Queens. Charleston: Arcadia.

Saridakis, Nikos. 2019. Greek Fashion – 100 Inspirational and Creative Years. Exhibition Catalog. Nafplion: Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation [in Greek].

Xenides, John. 1922. The Greeks in America. New York: Doran & Co.

The Modern Greek Studies Association holds events and publishes regularly about Greeks in America.

Journal of Modern Greek Studies, 1983ff.

The Journal of Modern Hellenism, 1984ff.

The Greek Cultural Center of New York is operating since the 1970s in Astoria, Queens.

The translation below was kindly provided by Chrysa Tasioula, Art History and Museum Professions’ 2022.

Τιμώντας τον μήνα Ελληνοαμερικανικής Κληρονομιάς, το ΜΟΔΑ IS FASHION εγκαινιάζεται τη Δευτέρα 21 Μαρτίου στη Βιβλιοθήκη Gladys Marcus, Shirley Goodman Resources Center, FIT.

Απο αυτή την εβδομάδα, το FIT θα γιορτάζει τον Μήνα της Ελληνοαμερικανικής Κληρονομιάς με μια έκθεση που επιμελείται η τάξη Senior AHMP Seminar του 2022. Οι μαθητές ενασχολούνται με την κληρονομιά Ελλήνων σχεδιαστών μόδας, συγγραφέων και εικονογράφων όπως ο Γιώργος Σταυρόπουλος (1920–1990), η Δέσποινα Μεσσήνη (19112003), Τζέιμς Γαλανός (19242016), Γιώργος Σταυρινός (19481990) μεταξύ άλλων, στο Μουσείο του FIT και στις Ειδικές Συλλογές και Αρχεία Κολλεγίων (SPARC) που στεγάζονται στη Βιβλιοθήκη Gladys Marcus. Πολλοί από αυτούς που παρουσιάστηκαν εδώ γεννήθηκαν στην Αμερική, ταξίδεψαν ή έζησαν για λίγο στην Ελλάδα. Ωστόσο, όλοι τους εμπνεύστηκαν από αρχαία μοτίβα ή ανακάλεσαν αρχαία μνημεία κατά τη διάρκεια της καριέρας τους, τα οποία ελπίζουμε να παρουσιάσουμε εδώ. Κάθε Δευτέρα, τρεις νέες εκθέσεις τις οποίες γράφουν οι μαθητές θα ρίχνουν φως σε μερικούς από αυτούς τους καλλιτέχνες και την παρακαταθήκη τους στο FIT και στη Νέα Υόρκη. Σας ευχαριστούμε που διαβάζετε τις εκθέσεις μας! Σας ευχαριστούμε που επισκεφθήκατε την έκθεση!

Αν κοιτάξει κανείς πιο προσεκτικά, διαπιστώνει ότι υπάρχουν πολλοί ελληνικοί θησαυροί στο Μουσείο, τα Αρχεία και τη Βιβλιοθήκη του FIT. Πάρτε, για αρχή, τα κληροδοτήματα της Δέσποινας «Ντέπυ» Μεσσηνή (1911–2003), η οποία εργάστηκε για 52 χρόνια στη Vogue και δώρισε μέρη της κομψής γκαρνταρόμπας και των συνόλων μόδας της στις γκαλερί FIT. Στο ΜΟΔΑ IS FASHION συμμετέχει επίσης ο Γιώργος Σταυρινός (1948–1990) ο οποίος εργάστηκε ως εικονογράφος σε μεγάλες εκδόσεις μόδας και το 2007 τιμήθηκε με το Society of Illustrators Award. Σήμερα, η SPARC της FIT διαθέτει μια αξιόλογη συλλογή πρωτότυπων εικονογραφήσεων και μια εικονογράφηση από το 1980 βρίσκεται στο εξώφυλλο της έκθεσης. Ωστόσο, ακόμη, εκτός από μια κολακευτική και σημαντική βιογραφία που συντάχθηκε το 2010, ελάχιστα δημοσιεύονται γύρω από τις ιστορίες της τέχνης και στο πλαίσιο της αξιοσημείωτης συλλογής εικονογραφήσεων.

Όταν ο Αλέξανδρος Ρίζος Ρανγκαβής (1809–1892), ο πρώτος επίσημος Έλληνας πρεσβευτής στην Washington, D.C., επισκέφθηκε τη Νέα Υόρκη το 1867, εντυπωσιάστηκε από τους Νεορκέζους. Ξεχώρισε τους μεγάλους δρόμους, το Σέντραλ Παρκ και τις εταιρείες της Ιστορικής Εταιρείας της Νέας Υόρκης. Ενώ επέστρεψε στην Αθήνα, πολλοί Έλληνες άρχισαν να μεταναστεύουν και να εγκαθίστανται στη Νέα Υόρκη. Στη μονογραφία του, Οι Έλληνες στην Αμερική (1922), ο John Xenides περιέγραψε ήδη 80 ή 90 Ελληνικές Εταιρείες στη Νέα Υόρκη στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του 1920.

Σήμερα, ο μεγαλύτερος πληθυσμός Ελλήνων στη Νέα Υόρκη ζει στην Astoria, Queens. Από το 1998, ένα αντίτυπο της λεγόμενης Πειραιώς Αθηνάς στέκεται στο Athens Square Park ως δώρο των Αθηναίων στους Νεορκέζους. Στις γκαλερί του The Met, οι μαθητές του FIT, διάβασαν Κωνσταντίνο Καβάφη μπροστά από μια αρχαία ελληνική ταφόπλακα.