Statement Sleeves, curated by Colleen Hill, curator, Costume and Accessories, will debut on January 24, and showcases nearly 80 fashion pieces from The Museum at FIT's permanent collection - the majority of which are on display for the first time - and features the works of renowned designers such as Balenciaga, Tom Ford, Schiaparelli, and Vivienne Westwood. They are organised thematically or by complementary aesthetics rather than chronology. The exhibition highlights how sleeves serve as a vital mode of self-expression that reflects our gestures and movements, showcases their ability to indicate specific fashion eras and their related trends, and proclaims their role as signifiers of status, taste, and personality.
Image: Madame Grès, evening gown (detail), navy blue silk taffeta, circa 1980, gift of Mrs. Mildred Hilson, 82.234.3. Image above: Afternoon dress, c. 1830, England, museum purchase, P88.28.
The introductory section, Fundamental Forms, provides an overview of common sleeve shapes such as the bell, the bishop, and the raglan. Each is made from black fabric, allowing visitors to focus on the shape of the sleeve. A blouse in silk faille exemplifies the leg-of-mutton style fashionable in the 1890s—an enormous, puffed sleeve that tapers from the elbow to the wrist— whereas a man’s robe from the 1920s, made from stripes of silk and velvet, features kimono-inspired sleeves. These examples provide a foundation for the more fantastical sleeves on view in the remainder of the gallery, many of which build upon or hybridize these basic shapes.................
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