Home / Knowledge / News / Fashion / Museum at FIT to host 'RetroSpective' exhibition
Museum at FIT to host 'RetroSpective' exhibition
Apr '13
The Museum at FIT presents RetroSpective, a new exhibition that examines the relationship between fashion and its own history. Current fashions are changing more quickly than ever, and yet, in the constant quest for the next trend, the past is often used as a point of reference. Many designers draw on the past as a fundamental part of their design process.

They adapt, interpret, and attempt to modernize historical silhouettes and details that are as disparate as cage crinolines, flapper dresses, and grunge. While undeniably prevalent now, referencing the past is not only a contemporary phenomenon. RetroSpective will demonstrate that it is, in fact, a practice deeply rooted in fashion history.

RetroSpective will begin with examples of fashions inspired by historical periods prior to the eighteenth century, including a 1981 gold lamé ensemble by Zandra Rhodes and a 1999 painted silk chiffon gown by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy Couture. Both looks evoke sixteenth-century England. Also featured will be a small selection of fashions inspired by ancient civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Greece, as well as particular eras in history, such as the Middle Ages.

The remainder of the exhibition will feature period fashions – beginning with the eighteenth century –   grouped with their more recent revivals. A 2006 raffia suit by Walter Van Beirendonck, for instance, will be paired with the type of elaborate eighteenth-century menswear from which it draws inspiration.

Women’s wear examples will explore recurrences of the eighteenth-century pannier silhouette, which was revived as early as the 1920s in the form of dresses called robe de styles, an example of which will be on display.

A silhouette that has been repeatedly reinterpreted is the high-waisted, or Empire, dress which was popular during the first years of the nineteenth century. It returned a century later in fashionable 1910s adaptations. In 1962, designer Norman Norell again revived the Empire gown. His 1962 “Josephine” dress will be displayed, along with examples from the 1810s and 1910s.

One result of a craze for Victoriana in the 1930s was the reprisal of nineteenth-century cage crinolines and bustles. The April 26, 1930, issue of Vogue discussed the influence of, among other historical styles, the bustle and the “upholstered fashions of the [eighteen-] Eighties.”

In the exhibition, a 1930s Schiaparelli dress strongly represents this fashion. Also featured will be a more recent example from Anna Sui, who paired a bustle with a bustier and decorated denim jeans. Sui, who has a penchant for historic dress, once said, “I like using nostalgic elements and adding things to bring them into this decade. What I love is to capture an old feeling and still have it look good.”

n 1965, Norman Norell created a collection so reminiscent of the 1920s that The New York Times was forced to ask, “Is it Norell… or vintage Chanel?” An example will be featured, as will other later reinterpretations of 1920s drop-waist or fringed dresses. The exhibition will also feature examples from revivals of 1940s fashion, particularly from the 1970s, as well as designer adaptations of the styles popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

Must ReadView All

Union textiles minister Smriti Irani addressing at the Texprocil Annual Export Awards. Courtesy: PIB

Textiles | On 22nd Oct 2016

Govt to extend special package to home textiles segment

The Central government is likely to extend the recently approved Rs...

Reebok Liquid Speed Grey. Courtesy: Business Wire

Apparel/Garments | On 22nd Oct 2016

Reebok’s Liquid Factory brings sneaker creation to US

Reebok, a pioneer in the sporting goods industry, has brought sneaker ...

Courtesy: GHCL

Textiles | On 22nd Oct 2016

GHCL to invest Rs 67.25 crore in textile division

Chemicals and textiles firm GHCL will invest Rs 67.25 crore in its...

Interviews View All

Nuno Venda

‘There has been an increase in demand for water based inks, rather than...

Neel Sawhney
One Friday

‘The share of kidswear segment in the online sector is still small in...

Rahuul Jashnani

‘Online economy has changed the whole dynamics of buying habits.’

Giorgio Mantovani
Corman S.p.A

Giorgio Mantovani, MD of Corman, with a presence in both Milano and New...

Silke Brand-Kirsch
Schlegel und Partner

Silke Brand-Kirsch, executive partner of Schlegel und Partner, a leading...

Paolo Ocleppo
Sandvik Hyperion

Paolo Ocleppo, Rotary Cutting Segment manager, Sandvik Hyperion discusses...

Karan Arora
Karan Arora

Bridal couture created with rich Indian heritage, exquisite craftsmanship...

Judy Frater
Somaiya Kala Vidya

Among the many honours showered on Frater, including Fulbright and Ford...

Igor Chapurin

"Now we can see the Russian trend in international fashion. And Russian...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


Letter To Editor

(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies

October 2016

October 2016

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.


Browse Our Archives


Advanced Search