Fabulous! Fashions of the 1940s, an exhibition on view June 14 through July 30, 2005 at the Museum at FIT, showcases the American designers who rose to prominence during the war years of the 1940s. It will feature more than 30 fashions and accessories from top creators, including Adrian, Claire McCardell, and Norman Norell. This exhibition was presented at the Kennedy Center's Terracy Gallery, March 18 - April 14, as part of its festival A New America: The 1940s and the Arts.
The fashions of the 1940s mirrored the changes that occurred in a world at war. Deprived of French fashions by the Nazi occupation of Paris in June 1940, American clothing manufacturers and stores turned to homegrown talent. American designers, such as McCardell, who began designing sportswear in the 1930s, already had an affinity for casual chic.
As a fashion student, she had traveled to Paris where she greatly admired the work of Madeleine Vionnet. As a professional, she brilliantly reinterpreted Vionnet's complicated cuts, creating affordable ready-to-wear dresses, suits, coats, and evening wear, as well as active sportswear.
Other important figures represented in this exhibition are Norman Norell and Adrian. Norell is known for the simplicity and superb workmanship of his beautifully constructed clothes. His collections always included suits and jersey dresses, but for evening, glamour and femininity was his trademark.