“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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Coming Soon to The Museum at FIT: Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch

Susanne Bartsch with Gage of the Boone, 2013. Photo © Wilsonmodels.

Susanne Bartsch with Gage of the Boone, 2013. Photo © Wilsonmodels.

Susanne wearing a dress by Rachel Auburn, Liberty Theatre in Times Square, 2014. Photo by Robin Souma.

Susanne wearing a dress by Rachel Auburn, Liberty Theatre in Times Square, 2014. Photo by Robin Souma.

The Museum at FIT presents Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch (Special Exhibitions Gallery, September 18 – December 5, 2015), featuring approximately 80 looks from the underground fashion impresario’s personal collection of clothing and accessories, including designs by Rachel Auburn, The Blonds, Leigh Bowery, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Pam Hogg, Stephen Jones, Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, Rick Owens, Vivienne Westwood, and Zaldy, thanks to the generosity of the Couture Council and MAC Cosmetics.

Susanne and François Sagat in Switzerland hosting an AIDS benefit. Dress by Mathu and Zaldy, 2011. © Patrick MettRaux and Lukas Beyeler.

Susanne and François Sagat in Switzerland hosting an AIDS benefit. Dress by Mathu and Zaldy, 2011. © Patrick MettRaux and Lukas Beyeler.

Born in Switzerland, Susanne Bartsch moved to London as a teenager, living there for a decade. “We called her the Swiss Miss,” say old friends from London, where Bartsch was a key figure among the New Romantics. Arriving in New York on Valentine’s Day 1981, Bartsch opened a boutique in Soho while still on a tourist visa. An enthusiastic proponent of 1980s English fashion, she was one of the first New York retailers to import Vivienne Westwood. She also organized fashion shows, such as New London in New York and London Goes to Tokyo, that showcased designers Leigh Bowery, Body Map, and Stephen Jones. But life in 1980s New York was not just a party; AIDS was devastating the community. As her friends began dying, Bartsch notes that she “survived this period by becoming a fundraiser.” In 1989, she organized the Love Ball, one of the first and most important AIDS benefits. Over the next few years, she raised a total of $2.5 million for AIDS research and advocacy.

The catwalk crew at Marquee, 2013. Photo by Jason Akira Somma.

The catwalk crew at Marquee, 2013. Photo by Jason Akira Somma.

Susanne Bartsch has also been the longtime reigning queen of New York City nightlife since the 1980s when she became renowned for creating spectacular parties where she and a diverse mix of individuals—uptown, downtown, gay, straight, multiracial—dressed up in their own versions of high fashion, street style, drag, and Mardi Gras extravaganza. Her first party took place in 1986 at a club near The Chelsea Hotel, where she has lived for many years. “It was about seeing and being seen,” says Bartsch.

Bartsch and her friends have long constituted a fashion underground of creative individuals who take dressing up to the level of performance art. “Style is about expressing yourself,adds Bartsch. “You can be whatever you want to be—a silver-screen star, a Marie Antoinette baroque creature, a Victorian punk. I love that about fashion and makeup.” A muse for fashion designers and makeup artists, Bartsch has also been a catalyst for the cross-fertilization of ideas between creative people in a range of fields. Today, she is increasingly creating events that explicitly link fashion and art.

Photo by Robin Souma

Photo by Robin Souma

Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch opens with a small introductory gallery of images and videos about Bartsch and her world. In the main exhibition gallery, the first section focuses on the 1980s English fashions that Bartsch introduced to New York displayed in a tableau evoking her surreally styled boutiques. The second and largest section features a variety of the creations that Bartsch and her friends have worn at her famous club nights at Savage, Copacabana, and Le Bains, with a special section devoted to the AIDS balls. The final section evokes her apartment at the Chelsea Hotel, the center of her creative world. Videos and projected photographs throughout the exhibition document Bartsch’s 30 years of sartorial self-expression and its influence on the global fashion scene.

Susanne at a Swiss dance event at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, January 2015. Photo by Robin Souma

Susanne at a Swiss dance event at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, January 2015. Photo by Robin Souma

Susanne Bartsch, 1990s. Photograph by Andrea Barbiroli.

Susanne Bartsch, 1990s. Photograph by Andrea Barbiroli.

The exhibition, curated by Valerie Steele and Susanne Bartsch and designed by Kim Ackert after a concept by Thierry Loriot, will be accompanied by a book by Steele and Melissa Marra. A two-day symposium will feature a range of designers, performers, and scholars speaking on fashion, creativity, nightlife, and performance art.

The Museum at FIT, which is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion. Best known for its innovative and award-winning exhibitions, the museum has a collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present. Like other fashion museums, such as the Musée de la Mode, the Mode Museum, and the Museo de la Moda, The Museum at FIT collects, conserves, documents, exhibits, and interprets fashion, with a mission is to advance knowledge of fashion through exhibitions, publications, and public programs.

The museum is part of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a State University of New York (SUNY) college of art, design, business, and technology that has been at the crossroads of commerce and creativity for 70 years. With programs that blend hands-on practice, a strong grounding in theory, and a broad-based liberal arts foundation, FIT offers career education in nearly 50 areas, and grants associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. FIT provides students with a complete college experience at an affordable cost, a vibrant campus life in New York City, and industry-relevant preparation for rewarding careers. Visit fitnyc.edu.

The Couture Council is a philanthropic membership group that helps support the exhibitions and programs of The Museum at FIT. The Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion is given to a selected designer at a benefit luncheon held every September.

amfAR’s CINEMA AGAINST AIDS GALA RAISES A RECORD BREAKING $35 MILLION FOR RESEARCH TO FIGHT HIV/AIDS AND TO HELP FIND A CURE

EVENT SPONSORED BY WORLDVIEW ENTERTAINMENT, BOLD FILMS, BVLGARI, MERCEDES-BENZ and THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY

The 21st annual Cinema Against AIDS raised a record $35 million last night, helping amfAR in its continued fight against HIV/AIDS. The star-studded black-tie event was held at the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc and was presented by Worldview Entertainment, Bold Films, and BVLGARI.
CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 22:  Harvey Weinstein and Heidi Klum speak onstage during amfAR's 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d'Antibes, France.  (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for amfAR)

CAP D’ANTIBES, FRANCE – MAY 22: Harvey Weinstein and Heidi Klum speak onstage during amfAR’s 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d’Antibes, France. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for amfAR)

CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 22:  Dean Caten, Sharon Stone and Dan Caten attend amfAR's 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d'Antibes, France.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/amfAR14/WireImage)

CAP D’ANTIBES, FRANCE – MAY 22: Dean Caten, Sharon Stone and Dan Caten attend amfAR’s 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d’Antibes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/amfAR14/WireImage)

Since amfAR’s late Founding International Chairman Dame Elizabeth Taylor hosted the first Cinema Against AIDS in 1993, the event has become the most coveted ticket in Cannes. Past events have been chaired by amfAR Global Fundraising Chairman Sharon Stone, President Bill Clinton, Demi Moore, Sir Elton John, and Madonna, among many others.
Like the epidemic itself, AIDS research knows no borders. amfAR’s programs have had a global reach since 1986, when the Foundation began awarding international grants. Today, amfAR continues to fund HIV/AIDS researchers worldwide and works to translate their research into effective policy, prevention, and treatment programs around the globe.
CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 22:  (L-R) Eva Herzigova and Sharon Stone speak onstage during amfAR's 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d'Antibes, France.  (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

CAP D’ANTIBES, FRANCE – MAY 22: (L-R) Eva Herzigova and Sharon Stone speak onstage during amfAR’s 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d’Antibes, France. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 22:  Kellan Lutz attends amfAR's 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d'Antibes, France.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/amfAR14/WireImage)

CAP D’ANTIBES, FRANCE – MAY 22: Kellan Lutz attends amfAR’s 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d’Antibes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/amfAR14/WireImage)

Sharon Stone was once again a Chair of the event, along with Harvey Weinstein, amfAR ambassador Milla Jovovich, Heidi Klum, BVLGARI Ambassador Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, Carine Roitfeld, amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole, Bulgari Group Chief Executive Officer Jean-Christophe Babin, amfAR Global Fundraising Ambassador Milutin Gatsby, Michel Litvak, Vincent Roberti, Remo Ruffini, Worldview Entertainment chairman and CEO Christopher Woodrow, and Worldview Entertainment COO Molly Conners.

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Barneys New York Announces Holiday 2013: “A New York Holiday” In Collaboration With Shawn ‘JAY Z’ Carter To Benefit The Shawn Carter Foundation

We are Barneys New York, but the city is more than just our name.  It informs our style, our attitude, our outlook.  And we are not the only ones.  Creative New Yorkers throughout history–including Shawn ‘JAY Z’ Carter–have also used this city as inspiration.”

This holiday season, Barneys New York, the luxury specialty retailer, will merge their creative approach with that of Shawn ‘JAY Z’ Carter’s for “A New York Holiday,” a unique collaboration benefiting the Shawn Carter Foundation. A celebration of the holiday season, “A New York Holiday” will include original interactive windows and exclusive limited edition products, which will live in an immersive gallery space on the third floor of the Barneys New York Madison Avenue flagship.

BARNEYS NEW YORK HOLIDAY LOGO: Barneys New York Holiday in collaboration with Shawn 'JAY Z' Carter logo.  (PRNewsFoto/Barneys New York)

BARNEYS NEW YORK HOLIDAY LOGO: Barneys New York Holiday in collaboration with Shawn ‘JAY Z’ Carter logo. (PRNewsFoto/Barneys New York)

BARNEYS NEW YORK (Barneys) is a luxury specialty retailer renowned for having the most discerning edit from the world’s top designers, including women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, fragrances, and gifts for the home. Barneys’ signature sense of wit and style is manifested in its creative advertising campaigns, original holiday themes, and celebrated window displays. Founded as a men’s retailer in 1923 in downtown Manhattan, it became an international arbiter of high style for both women and men in the 1970s, renowned for discovering and developing new and innovative design talent.

As part of “A New York Holiday,” Mr. Carter has collaborated with creative directors from some of the most inspired fashion houses in the world to create a collection of limited edition products, including designs from Balenciaga, Balmain, Lanvin, The Elder Statesman, En Noir, Hoorsenbuhs, Just Don, Proenza Schouler, Rick Owens, Stutterheim, Acne

Hoorsenbuhs 18 karat gold NYC edition double ring, limited edition Barneys New York Holiday collection in collaboration with Shawn "JAY Z" Carter.  (PRNewsFoto/Barneys New York)

Hoorsenbuhs 18 karat gold NYC edition double ring, limited edition Barneys New York Holiday collection in collaboration with Shawn “JAY Z” Carter. (PRNewsFoto/Barneys New York)

Studios, and Cutler & Gross.  Each distinctive item draws inspiration from New York City and is realized in color palettes of black, white, gold, and silver.  Debuts of additional limited edition product by Mr. Carter will also be made available at Barneys New York, including Shawn Carter by Hublot timepieces and a specially designed humidor by Comador.

The limited edition collection will be available exclusively at Barneys New York beginning November 20th in a first of its kind immersive gallery space on the third floor of the Madison Avenue store. A significant portion of the third floor has been completely transformed into the BNY SCC Gallery, which was conceived as a creative collaboration between Mr. Carter, visual artist Joanie Lemercier, and Barneys New York Creative Director Dennis Freedman.  The collection will also be available on www.Barneys.com and in Barneys New York flagship stores in Beverly Hills, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco.

With this project, Barneys New York and I were able to take the slickness, energy, and innovation of New York City and translate that into quality, timeless pieces,” said Shawn ‘JAY Z’ Carter.  “Everything that encompasses ‘A New York Holiday’–the items chosen, the amazing designers that participated, the windows, the design of the BNY SCC Gallery–represents a perfect example of a unique and groundbreaking collaboration that I hope demonstrates how inspiring New York has been to me.” Continue reading