The Museum at FIT has had many reasons to celebrate this week, and it is all taking on a French flavor. This accomplished museum for fashion is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week with an opening of "Paris, Capital of Fashion," an major exhibition curated by my former teacher, fashion historian and the Director of the Museum Valerie Steele; at the same time, it has awarded French shoe designer Christian Louboutin in the annual Couture Council Luncheon.
The fact that Paris has become the international mecca of fashion, luxury, and high taste since the foundation of the Court of Versailles in the 17th century is well known. This show however, comes to explain the reason for Paris' reputation as the most glamorous and competitive of all fashion capitals. The selection of the exhibition's 75 spectacular fashion ensembles helps the viewer to get deep into the world of Parisian fashion, its femininity, style, the French chic, and its highly-crafted identity.
The introductory gallery places Paris within the global fashion world, particularly against London, Milan, and New York, while the main gallery focuses on its narrative. It begins at the Court of Versailles in the late 17th and 18th centuries, focusing on the development of the haute couture, which transformed dressmaking into a form of French art, and surveys French fashion to the present.
Perugia, shoes, 1940, France. The Museum at FIT, 2003.100.17