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...
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.
The first room of the exhibit begins with pieces Scaasi made for a General Motors print advertisement in 1954, the same year he changed his name — Scaasi is Isaacs spelled backward.
The exhibit then moves on to the late Fifties and Sixties, where dresses with wild prints and colors are paired with coats made of matching fabrics. This helped to revolutionize retail floors, Scaasi noted, since coats and dresses weren’t previously merchandised together.
The main room of the retrospective is a sea of dresses, each displaying an innovative cut, vibrant use of color and eye-catching fabric. The body of work features recent gowns, as well, including one worn by First Lady Laura Bush in 2001.
Accompanying many of the dresses are enlarged photos of socialites, members of royalty, first ladies and movie stars wearing Scaasi gowns. Also on display are select pieces of Scaasi-designed jewelry and enlarged pictures of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Time and other magazines featuring Scaasi dresses on the cover.
According to Ellen Shanley, curator of costume at The Museum at FIT, Scaasi makes larger-than-life clothes perfectly suited for making an entrance in the grandest of any social occasion.
"You have to have a specific kind of woman to carry it off because they’re not quiet," Shanley said. "Often when he chooses his fabrics, the scale of the print is oversized. They’re large paisleys, large florals and large polka dots. You could say it would be overwhelming, but he makes it work. As a designer, you have to know how to work with the fabrics because it could be disastrous in the wrong hands."Shanley also said she most admired the designer’s sense of color: "I don’t think anyone can work with color and use it in such a bold way as Mr. Scaasi does. The color combinations are often shocking but they work."
When asked about his consistent use of color during his career, Scaasi said: "Why make a simple black dress when you can have a simple red dress with a pink bow?"
One highlight of the exhibit is a variegated green ostrich-feather dress from 1959. While Scaasi made 13 green feather dresses, all were missing up until a few months ago. In a stroke of luck, Scaasi said Vogue European editor-at-large Hamish Bowles found the dress on eBay in May and lent it for the show.
One of the most noted women to wear one of the ostrich-feather dresses was Dorothy Kilgallen. The famous journalist and TV celebrity wore it to Princess Margaret’s wedding to Antony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 1960.
"Every dress brings back a memory," said the designer. "I literally went through 40 years of analysis."
To inaugurate the retrospective in true Scaasi fashion, a cocktail benefit was held at the museum Monday night to support FIT and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye