It may be difficult to discern in the dim museum lighting, but the front of this bright Pink Dress features the scene of a rocket launch, and was created in 1968 by American graphic artist Harry Gordon at the height of the international space race.
An identical rocket image adorns the dress’ back. This and other screen-printed paper dress designs by Gordon were manufactured by UK-based company Poster Dress, Ltd. Selling for about $3.00 each and fabricated from tissue, wood pulp and rayon mesh, the dress came with the proclamation: ‘Toughness is woven into the non-woven fabric for long, l-o-n-g wear, and should you tire (which is doubtful), just cut open all the seams and hang it on your wall as a mammoth poster.’
This Pink and Black Sequined Mini Dress (autumn / winter 1983 – 84) is characteristic of paradoxical charm of the work of Stephen Sprouse (1953 – 2004). He often sited the cutout, mini-skirted styles that designers like Andre Courreges and Rudi Gernreich introduced in the 1960s, yet he reartciluated these silhouettes within the distinct cultural context of 1980s New York. From his debut collection, he established a unique look, artfully integrating pop culture and street style into youthful fashions executed in luxurious materials.
Sprouse was particularly known for his ability to sketch: the graffiti motifs developed for his textiles were frequently drawn by his own hand. The scrawled neon print of this dress has been skillfully engineered and embroidered with a gleaming layer if clear paillettes, lending a patina of glamour to an otherwise edgy garment.
Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
In recent years, Asian American designers, especially those of Chinese heritage, have emerged as a significant presence in New York’s fashion world, comparable to that of Jewish immigrants in the past. To be a member of the Chinese diaspora can be advantageous when much apparel is manufactured in China, and Chinese consumers are a growing force in the fashion world. In addition to his New York-based eponymous business, Alexander Wang was for a time a designer at Balenciaga in Paris. This sporty-chic Orange and Black cotton and synthetic-blend Mesh Knit Mini Dress is from Wang’s Spring 2015 collection.
Photographed as Part of The Exhibit, Paris, Capital of Fashion, On View at The Museum at FIT in Manhattan Through January 4th, 2020.
This Twiggy London Girl Dress (1966) was part of a product line by British teenage model Twiggy, so nicknamed due to her skinny, twig-like frame. The short, A-line construction plays on the silhouette that many designers were working with during the 1960s to free wearers from the heavily structured styles of the previous decade.
Twiggy came to embody the increasingly thin, youthful ideal of the ’60s and remains a key reference in debates about body image.
Photographed in the Museum at FIT in Manhattan as part of the Exhibit, The Body: Fashion and Physique, on View Through May 5th, 2018.
Paco Rabanne presented his first fashion collection in 1966. It was entitled 12 Dresses in Unwearable Materials and included garments made from links of plastic fastened with metal hoops. Rabanne had proven that fabric, needle and thread were not altogether necessary to clothing design, and he quickly gained fame for his defiance of tradition.
Ready-to-wear Dress Circa 1966: Silver and Black Plastic Discs, Metal Hoops. Photographed in the Museum at FIT in Manhattan.