American Beauty: Aesthetics and Innovation in Fashion

American fashion design exhibition at the Museum at FIT, NYC

Special Exhibitions Gallery
November 6, 2009 – April 10, 2010

Fashion designed and made in the United States over the past one-hundred years has attained worldwide influence due in large part to the creation and popularization of sportswear, denim, and mass marketing. Yet, contrary to popular belief, America has also produced artistic and innovative clothing that utilized the craft of dressmaking.

American Beauty: Aesthetics and Innovation in Fashion is the first exhibition to examine the relationship between the “philosophy of beauty” and the technical craft of dressmaking in the United States. Curated by deputy director Patricia Mears, the exhibition features approximately 80 garments by a highly selective group of American fashion designers.

The garments on view are the work of only about 25 designers, many of whom are all but unknown, such as Jessie Franklin Turner, Elizabeth Hawes, Bonnie Cashin, and Charles Kleibacker. Their work is exhibited alongside that of more celebrated creators—Halston, Claire McCardell, and Charles James, for example. In addition, work by designers of the past are juxtaposed with present-day designers, such as Isabel Toledo, Ralph Rucci, Jean Yu, Yeohlee, Maria Cornejo, and the Mulleavy sisters, who work under the Rodarte label.

Support for this exhibition and the related symposium in December, is provided by the 1stdibs, the online resource for antique and vintage design. Additional support is provided by The Coby Foundation and Yoox.com, the museum’s media partner for American Beauty.
1stdibs.com is presenting an exclusive editorial feature on its website.
yoox.com has unique online content including videos with curator Patricia Mears and a number of designers.


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