There is a fascinating new exhibition at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. American Beauty: Aesthetics and Innovation in Fashion examines "the relationship between the “philosophy of beauty” and the technical craft of dressmaking in the United States." Beauty as examined by curator Patricia Mears is expressed in line, cut, color and form. Ornament, embellishment and printed pattern are minimized. One treat in the exhibition is a two-piece evening dress by Mainbocher that was worn by the Duchess Windsor and in which she was photographed by Horst (see below). There are several amazing pieces by the late Pauline Trigere who, though legendary among the fashion-informed, never really was as appreciated as her masterful work warranted. To use a cliched fashion phrase, her work was "as good as Paris haute couture." That description is often applied to James Galanos (also represented in the show by a few magnificent pieces) but Trigere is definitely up there and her work has a recognizable signature (to the knowing eye) that is sometimes lacking in Galanos' diversity of design. Dare I say that Trigere was often as good as Balenciaga?
Duchess of Windsor
Three 1940s suits by Adrian:
Galanos, left; Trigere, right:
A fabulous lady at the opening at FIT: