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Denim: Fashion's Frontier

Denim: Fashion's Frontier


Fashion & Textile History Gallery
December 1, 2015 – May 7, 2016


Denim has become one of the world's most beloved fabrics. According to anthropologist Daniel Miller, "On any given day, nearly half the worlds population is in jeans." The cultural significance of this has yet to be fully determined. Denim: Fashion's Frontier explores the dynamic history of denim and its relationship with high fashion from the 19th century to the present. The exhibition traces denim from its origins in work wear of the 19th century, through its role as a symbol of counterculture rebellion in America, to its acceptance into mainstream culture. It culminates with the arrival of blue jeans as luxury items during the late 20th century, and denim's subsequent deconstruction by contemporary designers through postmodern pastiche and experimentation.

Alongside this chronology, Denim: Fashion's Frontier highlights important points of engagement between high fashion and denim that are often left out of typical denim histories. Themes addressed include the role of advertising in creating popular mythologies, as well as issues of distressing, connoisseurship, and environmental concerns. The goal is to shed new light on one of the worlds most popular types of clothing, and to explore how a particular style of woven cotton has come to dominate the clothing industry.

Read more about the exhibition.

Image: Comme des Garons (Junya Watanabe), distressed denim dress, spring 2002, collection of MFIT. Photograph by William Palmer.


Tony Capparelli – The Art of Sport

Gallery FIT
November 3 – December 12, 2015


Tony Capparelli is an adjunct associate professor of illustration at FIT. As an artist, he is an interpreter of the world of sport. Tony Capparelli - The Art of Sport features artworks in a variety of media, representing many different sporting activities and sports celebrities. Read more about the exhibition.


Susanne Bartsch

Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch


Special Exhibitions Gallery
September 18 – December 5, 2015


Susanne Bartsch has been a highly visible player in New York City nightlife from the 1980s to the present. Her penchant for extreme fashion and make-up made her name the equivalent of a couture label for party people around the world. Born in Switzerland, she came to New York in 1981, via London and opened an influential boutique in Soho, featuring the work of young, cutting-edge English designers and milliners, such as John Galliano, Stephen Jones, and Leigh Bowery. In 1986, Bartsch organized her first party at Savage, a club underneath the Chelsea Hotel. Her parties at the Copacabana soon became known for their mix of uptown and downtown, gay and straight, high fashion, street style, and Mardi Gras extravaganza.

Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch explores the creative links between her 30 years of sartorial self-expression and its influence on the global fashion scene. As Holly Brubach wrote in her 1991 New Yorker profile, "If there is a theme that runs through the various jobs Bartsch has held, it is perhaps a fascination with the way people present themselves with clothes and the part they play in peoples imagination."

Read more about the exhibition.

Image: Marco Ovando | Art: Maxwell N. Burnstein