A few highlights from the Fashion Institute of Technology’s recent Spring 2017 exhibit
It’s easy for the general public to get excited over seeing Chanel or Christian Dior, but other fashion houses and emerging designers also shaped the Swinging Sixties and contributed plenty ideas that are still relevant in the industry in 2017.
The Museum at FIT’s exhibit Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968 highlighted a crucial point in fashion’s creative direction that moved women away from constraining waistlines seen in Dior’s New Look and towards the youthful, liberal silhouette that resonates with today’s fashion addicts. The exhibit showed a spectrum of daywear, outerwear and evening, as well as a section dedicated to how fashion’s influence pervaded the masses through media.
Unfortunately, many fashion houses that were popular during the era are no longer in business or no longer possess the social equity they once had—Pierre Cardin, Madame Grès and André Courrèges are only a few examples of the Parisian brands in the exhibit.
Since Christian Dior passed in 1957, it was Yves Saint Laurent who took creative reins of Dior at age 21. Saint Laurent would eventually start launch his own eponymous line, then launch Rive Gauche, a younger, contemporary collection.
In 1955, Karl Lagerfeld won the opportunity to work as Pierre Balmain’s assistant. Lagerfeld left Balmain to design Jean Patou’s haute couture collections, then he began designing for Chloé in 1964 and the rest of his career speaks for itself. Lagerfeld is arguably the most successful and most iconic fashion designer from this period, considering how he continues to serve as the chief creative of Chanel, Fendi, and his own line. Lagerfeld’s ability to adapt to the fashion landscape has secured an incredible legacy for other industry leaders to learn from.
For further reading on Parisian fashion in the 1970s, The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake explores the relationship between Lagerfeld and Saint Laurent as the two driving forces in the industry.
It’s amazing how the quality of clothing today is completely different. If you took the time to examine the garments, it was easy to see that they were made to last much longer than the luxury ready-to-wear pieces currently available—let’s hope that the traditional ateliers will coexist alongside the innovations of 3D printing to produce a more sustainable product while still preserving the fashion’s integrity.