The 50th anniversary party for the Museum at FIT offered a welcome opportunity, in the middle of a dreary February, for celebration. To acknowledge this milestone moment in the museum’s history, its director and chief curator, Valerie Steele, and curator of costume and accessories, Colleen Hill, selected from 33 of the museum’s most influential—and often groundbreaking—exhibits to create yet another sensational show: “Exhibitionism: 50 Years of the Museum at FIT.” This could not have been easy since there were over 200 from which to choose. Just before the doors to the party opened, Valerie—chic as always in black—conducted a private tour of the show for members of our Couture Council.
Our own Michael Kors calls the museum “the fashion insiders’ fashion museum”—an apt observation! Indeed, the museum lobby was filled to capacity with festive fashion insiders, many of whom happily walked the red carpet on arrival. The mood was celebratory; the crowd was lively, there was a buzz and a real sense of excitement. Valerie and I both offered champagne toasts as did our guest of honor, Tim Gunn, who acknowledged the museum on behalf of the fashion community. Calling the exhibit a “huge wow moment,” he saluted the museum’s relevance and innovative spirit.
The show is so alluring that in the midst of all the merrymaking, many guests who wandered down to see it became fully absorbed, and spent much of the rest of the evening there. I think they all would agree with the Wall Street Journal, whose reviewer wrote, “Thank heaven for FIT” for creating the Museum at FIT which has played a “seminal role in framing fashion as art and the fashion exhibition as a display of ideas as well as clothes.” Amen to that!