Fairy Tale Fashion at the FIT

The Museum at FIT is showcasing an imaginative exhibition.

On January 15, 2016 the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York opened its Fairy Tale Fashion exhibition. The exhibit examines the legend of fairy tales through the lens of high fashion and couture. Authors like Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault, and the Grimm brothers published fairy tales which captured the imagination of readers around the world and across the ages. Each of these memorable characters can be perfectly symbolized by way of their costume, which was often used as a metaphor for a character’s transformation, vanity, power, or privilege. For example, Rapunzel’s long hair or Cinderella’s glass shoes are iconic pieces of the character’s legacy.

Curated by 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 rarely specified by a time period, the exhibition includes garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present. There is a particular emphasis on extraordinary 21st century designers such as Thom Browne, Dolce and Gabbana, Tom Ford, Giles, Mary Katrantzou, Marchesa, Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Prada, Rodarte, among others.

Fourteen classic fairy tales are illustrated in the main gallery space, arranged in four typical story settings. The Forest includes tales of Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, The Fairies, Rapunzel, and Snow White and Rose Red. The Castle section displays Cinderella, Furrypelts, The Snow Queen, Beauty and the Beast, and Sleeping Beauty. The stories of The Little Mermaid and the Swan Maidens are explored in the Sea section; while the Parallel Worlds section highlights Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. Each story features a fashion companion with inspirations drawn from the heart of the tale.

The exhibition will be on display until April 16, 2016. It is supported by the Couture Council, with additional support from The Coby Foundation, Ltd.

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