The Museum at FIT Presents NIGHT AND DAY Through 5/11

The Museum at FIT Presents NIGHT AND DAY Through 5/11

The Museum at FIT presents Night & Day, a new exhibition examining how the rules that dictate appropriate dress for women have changed over the past 250 years. Featured are more than 100 day and evening garments, textiles, and accessories that illustrate the conventions during various eras for proper attire for a particular time of day, activity, or occasion. Night & Day reveals the evolution of the rules that govern fashion, including periods when strictly observed etiquette was the norm and other times when more flexible guidelines prevailed.

Night & Day opens with two striking pairs of garments that represent night and day from two different eras. Representing the 1920s is an Art Deco-inspired sportswear ensemble juxtaposed with a heavily beaded evening dress. From the late 1940s, a jaunty Elizabeth Arden trouser ensemble appropriate for weekends in the country is paired with a dramatic taffeta and velvet dinner suit by Charles James. The exhibition's theme is further reinforced in the introductory gallery by a group of Christian Dior garments from the 1950s, a decade during which there were multiple categories of day and evening wear. These clothes are displayed in a traditional fashion show sequence, beginning with daywear and ending with formal evening attire. Christian Dior accessories highlight the importance in the 1950s of a "complete look."

Following that introduction, the chronologically organized exhibition begins with the eighteenth century, when clothing was classified by its degree of formality and worn according to the occasion or activity, such as attire for an evening in a formal drawing room versus the less formal setting of a country house. The full spectrum of this hierarchy is illustrated by Galerie des Modes fashion plates (1778-1787) and represented by a robe à l'anglaise, which was worn in more relaxed social settings.

Night & Day, presented in the Fashion and Textile History Gallery, is organized by Molly Sorkin, along with Colleen Hill, Harumi Hotta, Lynn Weidner, and Tiffany Webber. The exhibition is on view through May 11, 2010.

The Fashion and Textile History Gallery presents biannual exhibitions examining aspects of the past 250 years of fashion. Exhibitions are curated exclusively from The Museum at FIT's extensive collection. Support for this exhibition has been provided by the Couture Council.

The Museum at FIT is the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion. Best known for its innovative and award-winning exhibitions, which have been described by Roberta Smith in The New York Times as "ravishing," the museum has a collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories dating from the eighteenth century to the present. Like other fashion museums, such as the Musée de la Mode, the Mode Museum and the Museo de la Moda, The Museum at FIT collects, conserves, documents, exhibits, and interprets fashion. The museum's mission is to advance knowledge of fashion through exhibitions, publications, and public programs. Visit

The museum is part of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a college of art and design, business and technology educating more than 10,000 students annually. FIT, a college of the State University of New York (SUNY), offers 44 majors leading to the AAS, BFA, BS, MA, and MPS degrees. Visit

The Couture Council is a membership group of fashion enthusiasts that helps support the exhibitions and programs of The Museum at FIT. The Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion is given to a selected designer at a benefit luncheon every September. For information on the Couture Council, call 212 217.4532 or e-mail

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