“Fairy Tales” are in Fashion at The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT)

The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT) (Seventh Avenue at 27 Street, New York City 10001-5992) presents Fairy Tale Fashion (January 15 – April 16, 2016, Special Exhibitions Gallery) a unique and imaginative exhibition that examines fairy tales through the lens of high fashion. In versions of numerous fairy tales by authors such as Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen, it is evident that dress is often used to symbolize a character’s transformation, vanity, power, or privilege. The importance of Cinderella’s glass slippers is widely known, for example, yet these shoes represent only a fraction of the many references to clothing in fairy tales.

Kirsty Mitchell, The Storyteller, from the Wonderland series. Photograph © Kirsty Mitchell, www.kirstymitchellphotography.com

Kirsty Mitchell, The Storyteller, from the Wonderland series. Photograph © Kirsty Mitchell, www.kirstymitchellphotography.com 

Organized by associate curator Colleen Hill, Fairy Tale Fashion features more than 80 objects placed within dramatic, fantasy-like settings designed by architect Kim Ackert. Since fairy tales are not often set in a specific time period, Fairy Tale Fashion includes garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present. There is a particular emphasis on extraordinary 21st-century fashions by designers such as Thom Browne, Dolce and Gabbana, Tom Ford, Giles, Mary Katrantzou, Marchesa, Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Prada, Rodarte, and Walter Van Beirendonck, among others.

The exhibition’s introductory space features artwork that has played a role in shaping perceptions of a “fairy tale” aesthetic. These include illustrations by renowned early 20th-century artists such as Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham, and A.H. Watson. Several recent, large-scale photographs from Kirsty Mitchell’s award-winning Wonderland series are also on display. This is the first time that Mitchell’s marvelous work—for which she designs and makes all of the elaborate costumes and sets—has been shown in the United States. Connections between fashion and storytelling are further emphasized by a small selection of clothing and accessories, including a clutch bag by Charlotte Olympia that resembles a leather-bound storybook.

Cape, late 18th century, England or USA. The Museum at FIT, 2002.36.1, photograph © The Museum at FIT (illustrating “Little Red Riding Hood”)

Cape, late 18th century, England or USA. The Museum at FIT, 2002.36.1, photograph © The Museum at FIT (illustrating “Little Red Riding Hood”)

Comme des Garçons, ensemble, spring 2015, Japan. The Museum at FIT, 2015.8.1, photograph © The Museum at FIT (illustrating “Little Red Riding Hood”)

Comme des Garçons, ensemble, spring 2015, Japan. The Museum at FIT, 2015.8.1, photograph © The Museum at FIT (illustrating “Little Red Riding Hood”)

The main gallery space uses fashion to illustrate 15 classic fairy tales, arranged within four archetypal settings. Visitors first walk into the Forest, which includes the tales “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Snow White,” “The Fairies,” “Rapunzel,” and “Snow White and Rose Red.” Several variations of Little Red Riding Hood’s red cloak are shown, beginning with a fashionable woolen cloak from the late 18th century—the style that is used to illustrate innumerable versions of the story—and concluding with a fall 2014 Comme des Garçons ensemble with an enormous, peaked hood in scarlet patent leather. Inspired by the fairy tale–themed fall 2014 presentation by Alice + Olivia designer Stacey Bendet, Snow White is portrayed wearing a black organza gown encrusted with rhinestones while lying in her glass coffin. The subsection on “Rapunzel” includes a stunning dress from Alexander McQueen’s fall 2007 collection, made from deep emerald velvet embellished with copper-colored beads that create a motif of cascading hair.

Adrian, dress, circa 1942, USA. The Museum at FIT, 71.248, photograph © The Museum at FIT (illustrating The Wizard of Oz)

Adrian, dress, circa 1942, USA. The Museum at FIT, 71.248, photograph © The Museum at FIT (illustrating The Wizard of Oz)

Mary Liotta, evening dress, circa 1930, USA. The Museum at FIT, 78.237.10, photograph © The Museum at FIT (illustrating “Furrypelts”)

Mary Liotta, evening dress, circa 1930, USA. The Museum at FIT, 78.237.10, photograph © The Museum at FIT (illustrating “Furrypelts”)

The center of the gallery is dominated by a large Castle, in and around which the tales “Cinderella,” “Furrypelts,” “The Snow Queen,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Sleeping Beauty” are displayed. Cinderella is first shown in her rags, exemplified by a Giorgio di Sant’Angelo ensemble with a skirt made from shredded chiffon, and dating from his 1971 The Summer of Jane and Cinderella collection.

Alexander McQueen, dress, fall 2007, England. The Museum at FIT, 2013.2.1, photograph © The Museum at FIT (illustrating “Rapunzel”)

Alexander McQueen, dress, fall 2007, England. The Museum at FIT, 2013.2.1, photograph © The Museum at FIT (illustrating “Rapunzel”)

Cinderella’s spectacular glass slippers are exemplified by a pair of 2014 heel-less shoes by Noritaka Tatehana, 3D-printed in clear acrylic and faceted to reflect light. Clothing is central to a lesser-known Brothers Grimm tale titled “Furrypelts,” which calls for a cloak of many furs, in addition to magnificent dresses that look like the sun, the moon, and the stars. The latter is represented by a dazzling, early 1930s evening gown by Mary Liotta, covered in silver stars crafted from beads and sequins. In “The Snow Queen,” the beautiful villainess wears a coat and cap of pristine white fur, exemplified in Fairy Tale Fashion by an opulent hooded fur cape by J. Mendel from 2011.

J. Mendel, ensemble, 2011 (cape) and spring 2008 (dress). Lent by J. Mendel, photograph © The Museum at FIT (illustrating “The Snow Queen”)

J. Mendel, ensemble, 2011 (cape) and spring 2008 (dress). Lent by J. Mendel, photograph © The Museum at FIT (illustrating “The Snow Queen”)

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“Crocs – Ancient Predators in a Modern World” Exhibition to Open Jan. 27 at National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C.

Crocs – Ancient Predators in a Modern World,” a traveling exhibition that explores the rich and complex lives of crocodilians, will be on display at the National Geographic Museum in Washington from Jan. 27 through May 8, 2016. The exhibition explores the remarkable diversity of prehistoric crocodyliforms, the biology and behavior of modern crocodilians and their precarious relationship to human societies.CROCSad1-634x241

Crocodilians have flourished for more than 200 million years and the group once included a rich diversity of forms — from galloping land predators and jumping insect eaters to pug-nosed herbivores and dolphin-like pelagic hunters. Crocodilians alive today are specialized as stealthy aquatic predators with rugged bodies, keen senses and incredible strength. Crocodilians also live complex social lives — they communicate with a range of sounds and subtle postures and provide their young with tender parental care.

The backbone of the exhibition is a series of dioramas — some living, some modeled — that depict crocodilians in their native habitats. Some of the world’s most intriguing species are featured in the exhibition, including the African dwarf crocodile, the slender-snouted crocodile, the Siamese crocodile and the American alligator.

“‘Crocs’ is an immersive adventure into the world of these fascinating ancient creatures that continue to captivate us today,” said National Geographic Society Vice President for Exhibitions Kathryn Keane. “This brand new exhibition will launch its national tour right here in Washington, D.C.

Videos of Dr. Kent Vliet, the primary scientific advisor for the project, as well as other experts, appear as a running thread throughout the exhibition. As the “digital curator,” Dr. Vliet introduces important themes and offers occasional interpretive insights as though he were accompanying visitors through the exhibition. The exhibition also includes work from National Geographic Society explorers including Federico Fanti, Natalia Rossi, Nicolas Mathevon, Jenny Daltry and Trevor Frost, whose work ranges from crocodile communication to crocodile population conservation.

Interactive components allow visitors to listen to croc calls and learn what scientists think they mean, create 3D animations of extinct crocodiles and test their crocodilian IQs with fun facts and croc trivia. Visitors can also view a life-sized model of the world’s largest crocodile ever exhibited in the Western Hemisphere, Gomek; explore how crocs communicate with sight, sound, smell and touch; and test their strength against a croc on a modified force gauge while a video demonstrates how researchers measure the bites of real crocs.

Crocs – Ancient Predators in a Modern World” was created by Peeling Productions, the exhibit arm of Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, an institution in Pennsylvania accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Peeling Productions previously brought two other popular exhibitions to the National Geographic Museum: “Geckos: Tails to Toepads” in 2010 and “Frogs – A Chorus of Colors” in 2008.

For full details on the exhibition, visit http://events.nationalgeographic.com/national-geographic-museum/.

The National Geographic Museum (1145 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.), is open every day (except Dec. 25) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults; $12 for National Geographic members, military, students, seniors and groups of 25 or more; $10 for children ages 5-12; and free for local school, student and youth groups (18 and under; advance reservation required). Tickets may be purchased online at www.ngmuseum.org; via telephone at (202) 857-7700; or in person at the National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th Street, N.W., between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information on group sales, call (202) 857-7281.

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. It funds hundreds of research and conservation projects around the globe each year. With the support of its members and donors, the Society works to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism, education initiatives and more. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.org.

11 Scientific And Technical Achievements To Be Honored With Academy Awards®

87th (1)The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 scientific and technical achievements represented by 33 individual award recipients will be honored at its annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Saturday, February 13, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. In addition, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) will receive a special award recognizing a century of fundamental contributions to the advancement of motion picture standards and technology.

Unlike other Academy Awards® to be presented this year, achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards need not have been developed and introduced during 2015. Rather, the achievements must demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures.

The Academy Awards for scientific and technical achievements are:


To Michael John Keesling for the design and development of Image Shaker, an optical system that convincingly creates the illusion of the camera shaking in a variable and repeatable manner. The Image Shaker was unique and superior to alternatives in use when it was invented two decades ago, and it continues to be used today.

To David McIntosh, Steve Marshall Smith, Mike Branham and Mike Kirilenko for the engineering and development of the Aircover Inflatables Airwall.

This system of modular inflatable panels can be erected on location, at lengths reaching hundreds of feet, with exceptional speed and safety. When used to support blue or green screens, the Airwall permits composite shots of unprecedented scale.

To Trevor Davies, Thomas Wan, Jon Scott Miller, Jared Smith and Matthew Robinson for the development of the Dolby Laboratories PRM Series Reference Color Monitors.

The PRM’s pioneering and innovative design allows the stable, accurate representation of images with the entire luminance range and color gamut used in contemporary theatrical feature presentation.

To Ronald Mallet and Christoph Bregler for the design and engineering of the Industrial Light & Magic Geometry Tracker, a novel, general-purpose tracker and solver.

Geometry Tracker facilitates convincing interaction of digital and live-action elements within a scene. Its precise results and tight integration with other ILM animation technologies solve a wider range of match-animation challenges than was previously possible.

To Jim Hourihan, Alan Trombla and Seth Rosenthal for the design and development of the Tweak Software RV system, a highly extensible media player system.

RV’s multi-platform toolset for review and playback, with comprehensive APIs, has allowed studios of all sizes to take advantage of a state-of-the-art workflow and has achieved widespread adoption in the motion picture industry.

To Richard Chuang and Rahul Thakkar for the groundbreaking design, and to Andrew Pilgrim, Stewart Birnam and Mark Kirk for the review workflows and advanced playback features, of the DreamWorks Animation Media Review System.

Over its nearly two decades of development, this pioneering system enabled desktop and digital theater review. It continues to provide artist-driven, integrated, consistent and highly scalable studio-wide playback and interactive reviews.

To Keith Goldfarb, Steve Linn, Brian Green and Raymond Chih for the development of the Rhythm & Hues Global DDR System.

This consistent, integrated, production database-backed review system enables a recordable workflow and an efficient, collaborative content review process across multiple sites and time zones.

To J Robert Ray, Cottalango Leon and Sam Richards for the design, engineering and continuous development of Sony Pictures Imageworks Itview.

With an extensive plugin API and comprehensive facility integration including editorial functions, Itview provides an intuitive and flexible creative review environment that can be deployed globally for highly efficient collaboration.


To Brian McLean and Martin Meunier for pioneering the use of rapid prototyping for character animation in stop-motion film production.

LAIKA’s inventive use of rapid prototyping has enabled artistic leaps in character expressiveness, facial animation, motion blur and effects animation. Through highly specialized pipelines and techniques, 3D printing capabilities have been harnessed with color uniformity, mechanical repeatability, and the scale required to significantly enhance stop-motion animated feature films.

To Jack Greasley, Kiyoyuki Nakagaki, Duncan Hopkins and Carl Rand for the design and engineering of the MARI 3D texture painting system.

Combining powerful, multilayer painting tools and a unique texture-management system, MARI simplifies working with large, high-resolution texture sets. It has achieved broad adoption in the visual effects industry, often supplanting long-term in-house systems.


To the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers

For one hundred years, the Society’s members have nurtured technology, provided essential standards, and offered the expertise, support, tools and infrastructure for the creation and post-production of motion pictures.

This year’s honorees represent a wide range of new tech, including a modular inflatable airwall system for composited visual effects, a ubiquitous 3D digital paint system and a 3D printing technique for animation,” said Richard Edlund, Academy Award®-winning visual effects artist and chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee. “With their outstanding, innovative work, these technologists, engineers and inventors have further expanded filmmakers’ creative opportunities on the big screen.”

As always, portions of the Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation will be included in the Oscar® telecast.

The nominees for the 87th Annual Academy Awards will be announced Thursday (morning), January 14th. The Oscars® for outstanding film achievements of 2015 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised, hosted by Chris Rock, live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.