Last week TD and I attended the opening night party for the new exhibition at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology which celebrates the glamorous, luxurious clothes of the 1930s. This show includes both women's and men's fashion, and was co-curated by Patricia Mears, deputy director of the Museum at F.I.T, and G. Bruce Boyer, the menswear writer and editor. You may remember Patricia, who gave us a private tour of Ivy Style about a year ago.
Here is yours truly with Bruce and Patricia at the opening –
Entitled Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s, the show explores fashion between the Great Depression and the impending doom of World War II. The era is renowned for its timeless, refined designs which transcend fashion and could still be worn today. Lodged between the stick-straight, up-and-down flapper styles of the 20s and the exaggerated shapes and over-sized shoulder pads of the 40s, 30s design struck the perfect balance by following and flattering the lines of the body. Lighter fabrics and textiles woven on wider looms enabled manufacturers to drape and shape clothes in graceful new ways. "There is a sense of naturalism," Patricia Mears said to me, noting the lack of corseting or padding. "The construction looks simple but it's very complicated and creates an elegance and sophistication."
Menswear too is displayed with the women's clothes, and shows how the handsome style of the 30s continues to be an influence. "Men's tailoring still today derives from either the English draped model or the Italian deconstructed model of the 30s," said Bruce Boyer.
High-wattage costumes from Hollywood movies also dazzled during the era, and there are some glittering examples on display.
The gallery is decorated with muted, sheer curtains of light chiffon which Patrica said were inspired by the Normandie, the famous 1930s French luxury ocean liner.
This show offers a hushed trip to a more refined time. The 30s hit an ideal which will never go out of style and continues to inspire. Its theme of simple elegance is the very essence of chic style which looks effortless but is in fact rigorously thought out. The exhibit is up until April 19th and admission is free.