NEW YORK — "I originally wanted it at the Costume Institute, but they told me I had to be dead," joked Arnold Scaasi, during a walk-through of his 47-year retrospective opening today at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology on Seventh Avenue.

Called "Scaasi: Exuberant Fashion — A Celebration of an American Couturier," the exhibit runs through Jan. 4. It features some 170 dresses worn by prominent women of the past 40 years, including Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara and Laura Bush, Mamie Eisenhower, Joan Rivers and Barbra Streisand.

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