By Alexandra Taylor
American fashion has evolved the global fashion industry, setting precedent for standards of creativity and craftsmanship all while maintaining a cultural relevance. To honor the achievements of American fashion, the Museum at FIT on Seventh Avenue debuts Impact: Fifty Years of the CFDA, a retrospective acknowledging the influential work of CFDA (The Council of Fashion Designers of America) promoted designers, seen throughout the past five decades. With over 100 garments and accessories designed by the industry’s best, the exhibit offers a glimpse at each designer’s impact on the fashion world. From Diane von Furstenberg’s renowned, work-wear changing wrap dress of the seventies to a Narciso Rodriguez embroidered silk dress worn by the first lady on election night in 2008, the diversity of dress on exhibit have all impacted the fashion industry on a global scale.
On Thursday the exhibit opened with a preview hosted by CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg, who spoke of her work with the CFDA and how proud she is to be a part of an ever evolving and influential institution. “American designers have always had impact on how people dress,” exclaimed von Furstenberg. “In honor of that creativity and in celebration of the CFDA’s 50th anniversary, we are proud to present, in partnership with The Museum at FIT, an exhibit that represents the tremendous work of our members for the last five decades.” The accomplished designer went on to state that American fashion is about success and a collective influence, which spans decades. Also in attendance were several other distinguished designers including Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan and Tory Burch. The Council of Fashion Designers of America was founded in 1962 by publicist Eleanor Lambert in collaboration with 20 of the leading designer of that time to promote American fashion and aid designers in gaining exposure and recognition for their work. Since its inauguration the CFDA has grown to include of 400 designers in the areas of womenswear, menswear, jewelry and accessories, with the intention to highlight the work of upcoming designers and further promote the American fashion brand.
The exhibition is organized thematically to showcase the range of ingenuity while illustrating the influence over five decades that each designer has had on emerging fashion. Ranging from sportswear to luxurious eveningwear, the exhibit indicates the assortment of aesthetic and breadth of style that encompasses American fashion. The categories include innovative menswear, refined eveningwear, avant-garde pieces, sophisticated ready-to-wear and gowns of grandeur. To accompany the exhibit Abrams Publications has released IMPACT, ($60) a visual documentation of the exhibit and the work of CFDA members. With over 500 photographs the book chronicles 50 years of work by fashion industry namesakes with personal statements and essays and reflective notes by tastemakers including Anna Wintour, Bridget Foley and Andre Leon Talley.
Impact: Fifty Years of the CFDA is on view through April 17, 2012 at the Museum at FIT. Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, New York, NY 10001 212 217-4558