Byline: Eric Wilson

NEW YORK — Perry Ellis will be the subject of an upcoming exhibit at the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology, opening on Nov. 9., that centers on a recent donation to the museum by Evangeline Morphos, a theater producer.
The exhibit, which will run through Jan. 13, will include 14 outfits displayed in the museum’s lobby, including signature Perry Ellis pieces such as colorblock sweaters, cropped trousers and oversized jackets. The group is somewhat unusual in that FIT was able to obtain them as complete outfits, rather than separate pieces, said Valerie Steele, curator of the museum.
“She’s a big fan of his,” Steele said. “We found some very good pieces in it and we felt this would be a good time to remind people of Perry Ellis and also to acknowledge a donor who had made such a significant contribution to the museum.”
FIT’s permanent collection includes several important pieces from Ellis’s career, but, Steele said, “There were a lot of gaps.”
Some of the important pieces from Morphos’s collection include looks from the peak of Ellis’s career in the early Eighties, when he designed highly saturated colorblock sweaters, simple culottes and wide-wale corduroy ensembles.
“These things come up occasionally, but usually only in pieces, so it was a nice opportunity to get some complete outfits,” Steele said.
Ellis, who died in 1986, launched his signature sportswear collection in 1978 producing distinctly individual and American sportswear and accessories. He also served actively as the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America for several years.
Morphos said, “Perry Ellis’s designs are vibrant and exciting, not just as clothing, but as works of art that are visually and architecturally appealing.”
Along with the exhibit, FIT and Perry Ellis International will publish a limited-edition book featuring quotes about the designer’s career from several designers and editors. The exhibit is sponsored by Perry Ellis International and includes an opening reception on Nov. 8 sponsored by Vanity Fair.