The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City not only houses one of the greatest fashion schools in the country, but it is also home to the incredibly impressive Museum at FIT. This museum boasts more than 50,000 garments dating all the way back to the 18th century, which are curated into various exhibits throughout the year. Currently on display is a retrospective on one of my favorite living designers, Vivienne Westwood. For those of us who grew up in the '80s, Westwood's designs defined what was in fashion through her label World's End with her former partner, Malcom McLaren. Their street-smart sensibilities and cutting-edge style could be seen on countless stars on Mtv, making Westwood and World's End a household name. By the mid-eighties, Westwood was on her own, defining her own label as we know it today.
The current exhibit concentrates on Westwoods career from 1980-1989, when she was helping shape an entire generation's idea of style. It highlights her transformation from punk-fashion darling all the way to runway success through images, garments, videos, and more. For those of you not in the NYC area, check out the online exhibit, featuring photos and descriptions of many of the items on display.
I always love visiting fashion history exhibits, as many times I am able to see in person what I had only seen in photographs before. It is always incredibly inspiring to witness firsthand the craft of someone you admire, whether it's a quilt, a garment, an installation or even a painting. Though I'm not allowed to touch garments in a museum, or turn them right-side out as I'm known to do at department stores (I'm sure the people at Henri Bendel's think I'm nuts), but I always walk away with ideas churning for a new project and a resurgence of creativity. I encourage you to check out our local museums too, or even browse collections online if you can't make it on person. You might find it surprising what you walk away with, whether it's a new idea for a cuff, a new fabric choice, or even simply the motivation to get yourself behind the cutting table.