Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology

First post of the year and first museum visit of the year. I actually made it out of the house to do some errands, and figured I might as well make it a day out, so here it is …

Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, located in New York, New York

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The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is located rather close to 34th street, and on Fashion Ave, so it’s easily accessible by public transportation. There is a subway stop right across the street. The museum is open from 12pm-8pm on Tuesdays through Fridays, and 10am-5pm on Saturday. The museum is closed Sundays, Mondays, and legal holidays (there are illegal holidays?). Admission is free, which is wonderful and quite rare in NYC. It’s good that admission is free because the museum contains two galleries that rotate semi-annually, thus one can go every six months or so and see something different. The two exhibits on display were “Dance & Fashion” and “Faking It: Originals, Copies, and Counterfeits”.

“Dance & Fashion” was on display from September 13, 2014 to January 3, 2015, so by the time this post is out, it won’t be on display anymore, but nevertheless it will be reviewed as I saw it. The exhibit examines how dance and fashion have inspired each other, and does this by displaying clothes used for performance dances, such as ballet and modern dance, and fashionable dresses. An example of how dance and fashion have influenced each other is the pointe shoes used in ballet. The pointe shoes were inspired by the fashion of the 1800s, and now has in turn inspired current fashion, such as the Christian Louboutin ballet heels.  Louboutin connected that pointe shoes were extreme high heels, and now that I think about, he’s correct (you have to see the heels.)  I visited “Dance & Fashion” after I saw the other exhibit, as “Dance & Fashion” was in the basement, and the dance exhibit was bland in comparison to the other one.  The exhibit consisted of one room and the hallway in front of the room. The room contained four windowless walls, and in front of each wall was 1 to 3 rows of mannequins on elevated platforms, almost like the window displays of clothing stores. “Dance & Fashion” does its job of explaining the synergy between dance and fashion, but it does so in an unappealing way to people who are not as familiar with either dance or fashion.

“Faking It: Originals, Copies, and Counterfeits” is still currently on display, until April 25, 2015. The exhibit gives a history of copying in the fashion industry, both the legal and illegal kind. This exhibit was really well put together and informative; an exhibit that I expect to see at larger museums that charge a fortune for admission. I am not into fashion, so I learned plenty from this exhibit. When I think of the fashion world, I think it’s black and white, as in that there is the original authentic item, and its knock-offs. However, like reality, there is several shades of gray in between, one known as authorized copying. Authorized copying is when designers allow dealers to buy the licenses to reproduce their work, which asks the question are the copies authentic or not . Sometimes dealers modify the the originals to lower costs for the replicas, and other times, dealers even sell their copies of the originals to other manufacturing companies, leading to counterfeits.  The exhibit contains original items and their authorized and/or unauthorized versions side by side for comparison. In addition, the exhibit uses video interviews and photographs to point out the differences of original items from the copies.

I spent about one and a half hour at the museum at FIT, and I felt it was a reasonable amount of time. I was able to read everything from the “Faking It” exhibit thoroughly, and I saw all that I wanted to see at the “Dance & Fashion” exhibit. The museum at FIT has a very strict no photography policy. The museum  has an army of security guards that will call you out even if you so much as look like you are taking a picture. In addition to guards, the museum has a very good security system in place, if you are too close to the items on display, an alarm will go off. (For a free museum, I wonder how they afforded all that security.) Despite all the security guards roaming the place, I enjoyed the museum and encourage everyone to visit the museum at FIT, it’s free, and the worst that can happen is you will have wasted an hour or so.

 

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