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Feb 06 - Apr 18

The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27 Street, New York, , 10001-5992, USA
  • “Yves Saint Laurent and Halston: Fashioning the 70’s” exhibition at FIT

  • Halston, evening ensemble, purple cashmere, c. 1973, USA, Gift of Elizabeth Pickering Kaiser.

  • “Yves Saint Laurent and Halston: Fashioning the 70’s” exhibition at FIT


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“Yves Saint Laurent and Halston: Fashioning the 70’s” exhibition at FIT

A new exhibition at the The Museum at FIT juxtaposes for the first time the work of two of the most prominent fashion designers of the 70’s: Halston and Yves Saint Laurent. The exhibition sheds light on the way both interpreted the creative frenzy and technological innovations of their time through their work, bringing together more than 80 clothes and 20 accessories from the museum’s Halston archive, the world’s most extensive collection of Halston designs, as well as from its impressive collection of iconic Yves Saint Laurent pieces, donated by his beloved friends and unconditional clients, among them Lauren Bacall, Marina Schiano, Aimée de Heeren, Mary Russell and Tina Chow.

Yves Saint Laurent and Halston: Fashioning the 70’sexplores how the designers became two of the major ambassadors of the luxurious chic, creative freedom and glamorous sensuality of the 70’s, each developing a recognizable style of his own, and how their work is connected, despite the fact that they are considered diametrically opposed. Divided into three separate sections, the exhibition begins offering a glimpse of their common use of menswear codes in womenswear, from Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking women’s tuxedo and his iconic safari jackets and jumpsuits to Halston’s most famous design: the masculine-inspired Ultrasuede shirtwaist dress. The second section explores the way both designers were influenced by the idea of exoticism, as seen in Saint Laurent’s Russian and Chinese-inspired collections of the late 1970s, in Halston’s oriental-inspired “sarong” dress, made from a single piece of fabric wrapped around the body, as well as in their common use of caftans and colorful pajama sets.

Finally, the exhibition displays how both designers were influenced by past periods of fashion, with Saint Laurent often paying tribute to the 40’s and the Belle Époque, while Halston to the 30’s and the work of legendary couturier Madeleine Vionnet. Last, but not least, the exhibition features an interesting selection of accessories, including a hat from Saint Laurent’s 1976 Russian collection and a “bone cuff” made by Halston’s long time collaborator, model and designer Elsa Peretti. “They really changed not only how fashion is worn by fashionable women but also how the fashion system is structured… this [was a] very exciting moment in fashion,” explained Emma McClendon, co-curator of the exhibition along with Patricia Mears. “Yves Saint Laurent and Halston: Fashioning the 70’s” is accompanied by a same title book, edited by the exhibition’s curators and published by Yale University Press.