The word “impact” is quite powerful in itself. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) holds plenty of prestige. Fifty years is a long time. Mush ‘em all together and what do you get? The exhibit at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York, “IMPACT: 50 Years of the CFDA.” I’m a huge fan myself of this particular museum because:
1) it is free
2) I love FIT
3) they have the best exhibits, always.
A few days ago, I went down to see this exhibit, which had gotten a lot of hype—with good reason. The expositions there are beautiful every time without fail, but it’s incredible to see how they transform the space each time they put up a new show. The setup looked completely different from the way it was when I saw the Daphne Guinness exhibit several months ago (three times, might I add).
Here’s a little background info for you: the CFDA was founded in 1962 by the publicist Eleanor Lambert and fifty leading American fashion designers. The reason for its conception was to recognize the talent of designers in the United States. Since the date of its beginning, the CFDA has accumulated over 400 members, including Halston, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Rodarte and Tom Ford. That’s only twelve of them. Its current president (as well as a member of the council), Diane von Furstenberg, created the exhibit with FIT to honor the fifty years of CFDA (ohhhhh).
Upon my arrival at the museum, I went downstairs and entered a dark room lined with iPads showing this slideshow, and assorted accessories behind glass cases. On the wall was a little blurb about the exposition, as well as this quote from the organization’s president: "American designers have always had impact on how people dress. 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.” While I was trying to read this, there was some guy having a really, really loud conversation with one of the security guards about insurance or something, and that room echoes badly. It was slightly painful to listen to. I got out of that section of the exhibit as soon as I could because I was about to slap that man but I figured that wasn’t socially acceptable.
I then entered the main part of the show. The primary gallery space had raised platforms along the two opposite walls with mannequins standing on them, sporting looks that the members of the CFDA thought represented their aesthetics the best. I’m not gonna lie, there were several names on those pedestals that I had never heard of before, but plenty of them I had and loved very dearly. Some of my favorites were from Proenza Schouler (it’s the middle garment if you click here), Perry Ellis (I guess no one has photos from his 1995 collections on the interwebz…), Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and Donna Karan (pictured above). There were also two slightly raised platforms on the other opposite sides of the room—sorry if the layout of this room is confusing you—showing evening wear from the likes of Oscar de la Renta (pictured above), Zac Posen and Marchesa.
The show as a whole was magnificent and the experience is not one you should pass up if you’re in town. The clothing appears to transcend time, gathering pieces from the 1960s to those that walked the runways back in September. It shows the generations that have passed and how fashion has evolved since the CFDA began; it’s all quite mind-boggling, really. I suggest checking out the exhibit before it leaves, which is on April 17, 2012.
Well don’t just sit there, get going! You really don’t want to miss this.
Images via google.com.
by Odelia Kaly