Monday, September 25, 2017

EXPEDITION: Fashion From the Extreme at FIT: Review by Polly Guerin

As world exploration into the remotest outposts of civilization draws modern explorers,  fashion rides the wave of adventure. What to wear?               Expeditions to the North and South poles, scaling mountain peaks, the depth of the ocean and outer space gave fashion designers reason to be inspired. They created fashions taking their cue from the practical clothing, often inspired by the Inuit. that adventure-seekers wore   
       However, it was not until the 1960's that these endeavors began to influence fashion. EXPEDITION: Fashion From The Extreme, at The Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology is the first major exhibition to examine this fascinating subject on view through January 6, 2018.
     Let's credit Charles Darwin's seminal publication On the Origin of Species (1859), one of the most influential books of its day, with fueling the collective imagination to explore extreme
environments. Then, too, Charles Verne added to exploration enthusiasm with his science fiction thrillers. He was way ahead of his time with such books as From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1871). Verne had anticipated space and deep sea travel decades before they became reality and his books inspired explorers and many creative fields, including fashion. 
       Of course, Artic-inspired fashion clothing that pre-dates the

1960s are rare, but couturiers took note.  Among them, Madame Gres began to design apres ski wear that resembled garments designed for explorers. Who better to emulate than the clothing invented by the Inuit. By he 1990s and into the 2000s life on he icebergs increasing inspired designers including Jean Paul Gaultier, Issac Mizrahi, Yohji Yamamoto. More recently, Joseph  Altuzarra's parkas and Karl Lagerfeld's faux fur creations for Chanel. Pictured Right: Yohji Yamamoto, ensemble, fall-winter 2000. Japan.
       Who doesn't own a down-filled coat? These fashion concoctions have become basic all time popular winter wear. Let's give credit, however, for the invention, to the outdoor clothing purveyor Eddie Bauer. In 1933, this firm patented the first down-filled jacket, and in 1937 American couturier Charles James designed the first fashion version made of elder down and white silk satin. 
     By the 1970s, both high-fashion designers and companies specializing in extreme environmental wear were making down and fiber-filled outwear and Tommy Hilfiger's "puffer" jackets were being worn by hip hop stars. Many designers today create versions of the down-filled coats that have become a mainstay in any fashionistas wardrobe.    

The global youth movement and Space Age influence brought into vogue garments that were dramatically different such as miniskirts and pantsuits with Andre Courreges, Pabo Rabanne and Pierre Cardin responding with cutting edge fashions.And ocean exploration has inspired more than new materials. Designers such as Alexander McQueen have crafted brilliant prints of otherworldly, bio luminescent creatures that live in the ocean's deepest environment. Image Left: Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garcon, fall-winter 2004. Japan
      Patricia Mears, deputy director wrote: "As fashion works to lessen it impact on the earth's fragile ecosystem, fanciful inter-pretations of expedition wear are being replaced by more functional, environmentally sustainable designs. Designers today are increasingly interested in the revelations, the technology, and the visuals of scientific discover, both in our everyday world and from the extreme."
       FIT will be holding a FASHION SYMPOSIUM, Fashion, Science and Exploration, October 10, 2017. To register go to he website, fitnyc.edu/museum or call 212 217 4585. EXPEDITION: Fashion From The Extreme tours take place Monday, Oct. 2, 6 pm, Wednesday, October 25, 6:30 pm and Monday, November 11, 6 pm.  Reservations are required as space is limited email: museuminfo@fitnyc.edu or call the phone number listed above.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! I remember fashionista socialite, Mary Lou Whitney; she went to the North Pole on her honeymoon in the long, long ago and probably brought silk pajamas.  Enough said!
Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column on subjects from visionary men to women determined to succeed, fashion and even poetry.

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