A fitting tribute

WAG offered a glimpse into the dazzling designs of Norman Norell (1900-1972) in our current issue

The exhibition sparking the feature – “Norell: Dean of American Fashion” – has now opened at The Museum at FIT in Manhattan.

We’ve had the chance to tour the exhibition, and it’s clear to see the famed fashion designer deserves every bit of the stylish tribute.

Norell’s eveningwear – what he’s perhaps best known for – may have been a celebration of plunging necklines, jeweled buttons and sable trims, but he was also equally noted for its formfitting flair, sleek sophistication and elegant comfort.

This well-rounded, expansive show explores many aspects of his career, from his day dresses to his coats to his signature perfume (Norell was the first American designer to introduce an eponymous fragrance. It was an instant hit in 1968.)

Be sure to start your visit with the video playing in the lobby. Filled with insights, it serves as an entertaining and informative introduction to the show organized by guest curator Jeffrey Banks, a designer, and Patricia Mears, the museum’s deputy director.

Designer Ralph Rucci, who wrote the foreward for “Norell: Master of American Fashion” by Banks and Doria de la Chapelle, says in the video that the takeaway of the show will be Norell’s timelessness, “and the simplicity of a few elements creating a mountain of possibilities.”

“Norell: Dean of American Fashion” continues through April 14 at The Museum at FIT, on the campus of the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. For more, visit fitnyc.edu/museum.

– Mary Shustack

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