Monday, January 11, 2016

'FAIRY TALE FASHION' Happy Ever After: Review by Polly Guerin

The Swan Maidens, Alice in Wonderland, Little Mermaid
"Fairy Tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you're young at heart." Just put on a little fairy dust and present yourself at The Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology this Friday when the unique and imaginative exhibition "Fairy Tale Fashion" opens to the public. No admission charge to indulge your fantasy in high fashion wonderland. On view from January 15 to April 16 2016. 
     Organized by Colleen Hill, associate curator of costume, the exhibition was inspired when Ms Hill saw the Dolce & Gabbana, fairy tale themed fashion show in 2014 and thought that it would make a really fun topic to explore, and indeed she has with such delightful results that you will linger longer to escape into the fantasy of your favorite fairy tale. Image Left: 1. Undercover "The Swan Maidens," 2. A Manish Arora "Alice in Wonderland," 3. Rodarte "The Little Mermaid."
      Why Fairy Tales?  Because dress plays an important role in fairy tales, signaling status, wealth, romance, and happiness ever after. The presentation features more than 80 fairy-tale inspired designs, all placed in a fantasy-like setting designed by Kimberly Ackert, the American futurists architect who's behind Ackert Architects (thumps up for the girl-power collaboration).
Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova and Valentino
This exhibition pulls on your heart strings as it examines the most famous and the most imaginative fairly tales through the lens of haute couture including both contemporary and historic designers, such as,  Alexander McQueen, Blumarine, Comme des Garcons, Marchesa, Tom Ford, Judith Leiber, Charles James, Thierry Mugler, Christian Loubutin and more.

     Coleen Hill has included some works of art by some XX and XXI century illustrators and photographers, such as Edmud Dulac, whose H.C. Anderson tale's give the Danish stories a spell of magic as does Kirsty Mitchel's Wonderland series. The gallery, dominated by a large castle, narrates various fairy tales, including Cinderella, The Snow Queen, The Beauty and the Beast and other works by famous authors. Just to show you how fairy tale translates into other fashion venues note the Image Right: What Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova had in mind for her White Fairy Tale Love Ball for her Naked Heart Foundation charity fashion show.
The first section of the Fairy Tale Fashion exhibition features numerous swan-inspired pieces while the Parallel Worlds section taps into the more playful aspects of The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland-inspired fashion pieces. Not to be overlooked is Comme des Garcons Little Red Riding Hood ensemble from the Spring 2015 collection.  You may search for Cinderella's glass slipper and find instead Louboutin's Lady Lynch stilettos.

    Fairy Tale Fashion, the book, by Colleen Hill; with Patricia Meers, Ellen Sampson, and Kiera Vaclavik is the first book to examine the history, significance and imagery of classic fairy tales through the lens of high fashion. Generously illustrated well-remembered fairy tales are linked to examples of clothing by celebrated fashion designers. Yale University Press, available April 19, 2016.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! One is never too old to find fantasy, magic and romance in Fairy Tales and a reason to know that dreams do come true for those who believe in Fashion Wonderland. Fan mail welcome at  Visit Polly's Blogs at and in the left-hand column click on the Blog link that resonates with your interest.  PS: Dreams Can Come True is a song written by Elton John, with lyrics by Tim Rice.


1 comment:

  1. That is fascinating dear. A fashion designer organized a grand fashion show last week at event space NYC. I attended that event with my designer cousin and got to know so many things about fashion.