In fashion, throughout history

The Museum at FIT bills itself as “the most fashionable museum in New York City,” and that was proven yet again on a recent morning.

I was in Manhattan to join a “Talk & Tour” during the closing days of “The Women of Harper’s Bazaar, 1936-1958.”

The museum, nestled within the campus of the Fashion Institute of Technology, has long been a personal favorite. Its exhibitions are thoughtful, playful and always stylish.

This compact show, presented by the School of Graduate Studies and the museum, was a tiny jewel created in tribute to the collaborative relationship among Carmel Snow, Diana Vreeland and Louise Dahl-Wolfe, editor-in-chief, fashion editor and photographer, respectively. Together, the women transformed Harper’s Bazaar into what the exhibition brochure calls “the definitive American fashion magazine, one that informed, surprised, and delighted readers.”

The show marked the first time the collaboration was examined through an exhibition, and it was created in anticipation of the magazine’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

Laura Donovan, one of the show’s four curators on hand to lead the program, said, “We really wanted to highlight their working process and what that created.”

And that was handily accomplished as our whirlwind tour took us through layouts and accessories, photographer’s proofs and telegrams, personal letters and video elements. Of course, there was a handful of fashions on hand, bringing it further to life — and creating memories of yet another memorable exhibition.

After the tour, I made a point to visit the museum’s concurrent shows, “Fairy Tale Fashion,” which continues through April 16, and “Denim: Fashion’s Frontier,” on through May 7.

Both were, as expected, equally informative — and inspiring.

For more, visit fitnyc.edu/museum. – Mary Shustack

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