A peek into The Museum at FIT’s exhibit—Paris, Capital of Fashion—in New York City
It’s been a while since I’ve been back at The Museum of FIT. I miss having the Paris museums a short metro ride away—insert longing sigh—but it’s important to absorb different perspectives on French fashion outside of Europe.
The collection of pieces on view at Paris, Capital of Fashion illustrate how Parisian designers played a role that extended beyond bolstering the French economy. Ever since the era of Louis XIV and his golden palace of Versailles, French fashion continues to confidently influence and dominate the international industry landscape.
The trending style change—the dominance of Parisian ateliers to inspire and inform the rest of the world remains.
There were three things that jumped out at me during the exhibit—a highlight on “The Battle of Versailles,” the 1973 runway showdown between American and French fashion designers, the role of licensing, and designer counterfeit using a Chanel tweed skirt suit as an example.
For example, the red long-sleeved cocktail dress (below) is a licensed creation that would be available in a department store. The label, Jacques Fath for Joseph Halpert, is a collaboration between a French couturier and an American apparel manufacturer.
The short-sleeved dress next to it is an original haute couture design from Fath’s atelier.
According to his biography, Fath was a well-known fashion designer whose peers included Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain. Unfortunately, Fath did not live long enough to fully establish his fashion house—he died of leukemia at age 42.
Of course, I had a few favorite dresses…
The dresses by Madame Grès (below left) are easily recognizable by their beautiful drapery work.
Paris, Capital of Fashion is on view at The Museum at FIT now through January 4, 2020. Admission is free.