American designer Norman Norell was one of the 20th century’s most remarkable pioneers of elegant fashion. Famed for his gowns, suits and tailored silhouettes, Norell is best remembered for redefining sleek, sophisticated, American glamour. Norell: Dean of American Fashion, the latest exhibition at the Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology New York, honours his timeless contribution to the industry.
This retrospective presents upwards of 100 original garments, accessories, and ephemera carefully selected by designer Jeffery Banks. Many of the objects come from the private collection of designer Kenneth Pool, and remain a testament to the breadth of Norell’s creativity and his enduring impact on fashion.
Although he was not the first American to employ couture techniques, Norell translated them into ready-to-wear clothes. He was also one of the first creators to change American perceptions about New York’s Seventh Avenue garment industry, at the time derisively known as the ‘rag trade’. So outstanding was the quality of his ready-made dresses, coats, and suits that critics deemed his designs ‘the equal of Paris,’ earning him another title as 'The American Balenciaga'.
The suits, jersey separates, outerwear and sequined ‘mermaid’ dresses in this retrospective all come together to reflect the profound respect contemporary designers have for Norell and his oeuvre. If you happen to be in New York this month, we recommend a visit.
Norell: Dean of American Fashion, until 14 April 2018
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Seventh Avenue at 27 Street
New York City 10001-5992