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Exhibitionism: 50 Years of The Museum at FIT Special Exhibitions Gallery February 8, 2019 – April 20, 2019 Share using #50YearsofMFIT on Twitter and Instagram. Exhibitionism: 50 Years of The Museum at FIT celebrates the 50th anniversary of what Michael Kors calls “the fashion insider’s fashion museum” by bringing back 33 of the most influential exhibitions produced since the first one was staged in 1971. Taken entirely from the museum’s permanent holdings, more than 80 looks are on display. From Fashion and Surrealism to The Corset to A Queer History of Fashion, the exhibitions are known for being “intelligent, innovative, and independent,” says MFIT Director Valerie Steele. “The museum has been in the forefront of fashion curation, with more than 200 fashion exhibitions over the past half century, many accompanied by scholarly books and symposia.” Founded in 1969 as The Design Laboratory and Galleries at FIT, it became The Museum at FIT in 1994, and was accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 2012. From the beginning, MFIT served multiple audiences, including students, designers, and the public. In 1971, its first director, Robert Riley, organized a show featuring the work of designer Gilbert Adrian; when MGM heard about it, the company donated costumes that Adrian had created for stars like Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo. For his 1976 exhibition on the French couturier Paul Poiret, Riley also acquired important ensembles for the museum’s collection, such as a fantastical “Persian” ensemble worn for a 1919 fancy dress ball. black silk velvet dress with black tulle ruffles at shoulders and rhinestones and sequins on front Adrian, dress worn by Greta Garbo in Camille, 1936, USA, gift of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. Featured in Adrian (1971). [masked] crushed silver gauze tunic with attached lavender and silver cummerbund and deep red chiffon trousers. Matching lavender brocade turban edged with pearls and large red feather. Paul Poiret, fancy dress ensemble, 1919, France, a gift of Mrs. Katheryn Colton. Featured in Paul Poiret, King of Fashion (1976). [masked] Fashion and Surrealism, organized in 1987, was another of FIT’s most influential exhibitions. It was organized by Richard Martin, Harold Koda, and Laura Sinderbrand, who also collaborated on exhibitions such as Three Women (1987), featuring Madeleine Vionnet, Clare McCardell, and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. When Martin and Koda moved uptown to the Costume Institute, Dorothy Twining Globus took over at MFIT, hiring Steele as chief curator. black and off white sleeveless mini dress with a blow-up photo print of an eye Harry Gordon, paper dress, 1968, England, a gift of Stephen Pietri. Featured in Fashion and Surrealism (1987). [masked] long sleeveless dress in ivory, georgette shaped through the torso with pintucked design of roses Madeleine Vionnet, dress, 1930, France, museum purchase. Featured in Three Women (1987). P[masked] bright red silk satin corset with red damask trim at top Corset, circa 1889, USA. 2009. Featured in The Corset (2001). [masked] Since 1997, Dr. Valerie Steele has curated a number of thematic exhibitions exploring topics of sexuality, gender, and identity, including The Corset: Fashioning the Body (2001) and Gothic: Dark Glamour (2008). Together with senior curator Fred Dennis, she organized the pioneering exhibition A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk (2013).