Fashion-Forward: April Events


by Mallory Passuite, 03/21/2012

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As the seasons shift, warm weather rolls into New York and visitors and residents are showered with fashionable happenings. Enjoy springtime sunshine and a little shopping on a free walking tour of the Garment District. Get inspired by vintage fashion photography in exhibitions that include works by George Platt Lynes, the late Lillian Bassman and Cecil Beaton. Celebrate 50 years of the Council of Fashion Designers of America with lectures from former presidents—this month, Stan Herman and Oscar de la Renta—and the Impact show, which closes on April 17. Other exhibitions and events, as well as sales and store openings, will crop up throughout the month, so remember to check back for additions and updates.

Stores & Sales

April 1, 19 and 29
Free Fashion District History Walking Tour 
Explore New York City's Garment District during this tour, led by Mike Kaback. Visit a private showroom, a sample sale, Mood Fabrics and more, all while learning about the neighborhood's historic background and importance. The tour is free, but reservations are required; you can make them by calling 212-764-9600 or emailing

April 10
The CFDA at 50: The Presidents Speak — Stan Herman 
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre, The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue and West 27th Street, 212-217-4558
A three-time Coty Award winner and the CFDA's president from 1991 to 2006, Stan Herman is best known for his loungewear and uniforms. He's credited with popularizing the designer uniform, with a client list that includes leading corporations like JetBlue and FedEx. He developed several humanitarian initiatives while at the helm of the CDFA and in 2006 received the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award. His talk, which begins at 6pm, is free, but reservations are required; you can make them online or by calling 212-217-4585 or emailing

April 19
The CFDA at 50: The Presidents Speak — Oscar de la Renta 
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre, The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue and West 27th Street, 212-217-4558
Oscar de la Renta has accomplished much in his career. The two-time CFDA president is a two-time winner of the organization's Womenswear Designer of the Year award (in 2000 and 2007) and has also received its Lifetime Achievement Award. Spaces are filled for his talk, but you might be able to put your name on a standby list by calling 212-217-4585 or emailing

April 26
Almodóvar and Fashion — Davidelfin and Paul Julian Smith
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre, The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue and West 27th Street, 212-217-4558
Spanish designer Davidelfin and City University of New York professor Paul Julian Smith explore the role of costume in the films of Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar. There's often more to his movies' fashion than one might initially expect. For example, Jean Paul Gaultier designed the bodysuits in Almodóvar's 2011 thriller, The Skin I Live In. The talk, which begins at 6pm, is free, but reservations are required; you can make them online or by calling 212-217-4585 or emailing

Through April 7
George Platt Lynes 
Steven Kasher Gallery, 521 W. 23rd St.
When American photographer George Platt Lynes opened his first New York studio in the early 1930s, he shot elegant portraits for the pages of fashion publications like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. His work caught the eye of some of the City's notables and, in 1935, Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine enlisted Lynes to photograph their American Ballet Company, initiating a 20-year partnership that produced some of the artist's best-known work. By the 1940s, Lynes began to experiment with the aesthetic of surrealism and also the form of the male nude, cast in an intimate light—a risqué subject, given the time. His interpretations, sensual and homoerotic, became a touchstone for later greats like Robert Mapplethorpe and Bruce Weber.

Through April 7
Youthquake! The 1960s Fashion Revolution 
The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue and West 27th Street, 212-217-4558
Just as the '60s were a revolutionary period for politics and youth culture throughout the world, the era also redefined fashion. "Once only the rich, the Establishment, set the fashion. Now it is the inexpensive little dress seen on the girls in High Street," British designer and boutique owner Mary Quant has said of the transition. London's mod scene and American hippies began setting trends—dressing for self-expression, blurring traditional lines of gender identity, embracing sexuality and new silhouettes. "The world is all for youth now," model Twiggy noted in 1967. "The young people have so much time and money to spend, all the businessmen say let's cash in on youth." As a result of that and the creative enterprise of individuals, brands and boutiques boomed. Youthquake! explores the decade with an exhibition that showcases garments and historical footage.

April 13—May 26
Lillian Bassman: Lingerie 
Staley-Wise Gallery, 560 Broadway, 212-966-6223
A prominent art director and fashion photographer of the 1940s, working with publications like Harper's Bazaar, Lillian Bassman grew disillusioned with fashion by the '70s. She disposed of many of her negatives and ducked out of the industry to focus on other photographic interests—until the '90s, that is, when a houseguest discovered some forgotten negatives. Bassman reprinted them, experimenting with various techniques, creating a second career for herself as fine artist. Her latest work was recently released in a book and is the subject of an exhibition of the same name at Staley-Wise: Lillian Bassman: Lingerie. The images feature Bassman's trademark touch of softness and sensuality, as her aim had always been "to take the hardness out of photography." Sadly, the artist passed away last month at the age of 94.

Through April 14
Jean-Philippe Delhomme: Dressed for Art 
FIAF Gallery, 22 E. 60th St., 212-355-6100
Artist and author Jean-Philippe Delhomme presents a selection of fashion illustrations at the French Institute Alliance Française. His works have been featured in such publications as Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Delhomme's also created a clever ad campaign for Barneys, published several books and spent the past year living in Bushwick and working on his blog,

Through April 15
Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones 
Bard Graduate Center Gallery, 18 W. 86th St., 212-501-3023
While the hat remains a timeless category of garb, Lady Gaga and guests of the royal wedding have put the avant-garde types back in the spotlight as of late. And, with impeccable timing, the Bard Graduate Center hosts a collection of hats curated by British milliner Stephen Jones. The exhibition, which opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2009, includes more than 250 extraordinary pieces by Jones, Philip Treacy and Bill Cunningham. American- and New York–centric items like Mouseketeer ears and Babe Ruth's baseball cap were added for this iteration, the show's US debut.

Through April 17
Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA 
The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue and West 27th Street, 212-217-4558
"Fashion is constantly changing," Council of Fashion Designers of America CEO Steven Kolb said in a recent interview with "As an organization, we've evolved over the 50 years to become a very forceful, dynamic family of creative types. There's really no other organization like it in the world." For the past half-century, the not-for-profit trade association has worked to cultivate the talent that has established American design as the international force it is today. Conceived by CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg, Impact honors the organization's nearly 600 designer members, past and present, through object and image—including pieces by Halston, Calvin Klein, Bill Blass, Tom Ford and Rodarte.

Through April 22
Cecil Beaton: The New York Years 
Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave., 212-534-1672
In 1928, the late, now-legendary fashion photographer Cecil Beaton moved from England to New York, where he shot fashion spreads and portraits for the likes of Vogue and Vanity Fair. He also designed costumes and film sets for classics like My Fair Lady (1956) and Swan Lake (1951). The New York Years, now on view at the Museum of the City of New York, pays homage to his time in the City, with a collection of photographs—including portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Mick Jagger and Greta Garbo—plus costume and set designs.

Through May 8
Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of The Museum at FIT: Part One 
The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue and West 27th Street, 212-217-4558
With exhibitions at The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) coming and going, it's easy to overlook the institution's permanent collection, which is wonderfully comprehensive. The first of a two-part showcase will present 50 masterpieces chosen from the 50,000-plus garments and accessories in the archive and include stunning pieces from Gareth Pugh, Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, Gianni Versace, Prada and Valentino. Admission to The Museum at FIT is always free.

Through June 11
Cindy Sherman 
The Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53rd St., 212-708-9400
MoMA presents a retrospective survey of photographs by Cindy Sherman, known for provocative self-portraits that appear simultaneously alive and cold. Sherman masterfully and sometimes eerily transforms into another person, rendering herself in various guises and situations to question the contemporary identity of women. She has always assumed the role of both photographer and model, with makeup, wigs and costumes that evoke a range of female archetypes. The show presents these multiple identities in all their large-format glory. As artist Chuck Close has observed, "She's achieved a near-Warholian superstar status. Her influence is everywhere." While she rarely does commissions, she's created portraits for a MAC Cosmetics campaign and a French Vogue–Balenciaga collaboration. The MoMA exhibition spans her career from the mid-'70s to today.

Through July 8
Beauties of the Gilded Age: Peter Marié's Miniatures of Society Women 
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, 212-873-3400
French New Yorker Peter Marié, a society type of the 19th century, was a bachelor known for his fondness of fine art and parties. Between 1889 and 1903, he commissioned approximately 300 watercolor portrait miniatures on ivory of the prominent women he considered most beautiful—including gilded lilies like actress Maude Adams, artist Lydia Emmet and etiquette author Emily Post.

Stores & Sales
Through April 16
Exhibition A at Barneys 
Chelsea Passage at Barneys New York, 660 Madison Ave., 9th fl.
Exhibition A—an art website founded by gallery owner Bill Powers, his wife, designer Cynthia Rowley, and Laura Martin—specializes in reasonably priced, limited-edition works by contemporary artists like Spencer Sweeney, René Ricard, Max Snow and Lucien Smith. Shop for new prints and art books at its pop-up gallery in Barneys.

related venues/(7)

  1. 1
    Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
    Seventh Ave. at 27th St.
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10001
  2. 2
    Steven Kasher Gallery
    521 W 23rd St
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10011
  3. 3
    French Institute Alliance Française
    22 E. 60th St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10022
  1. 4
    Bard Graduate Center
    18 W 86th St
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10024
  2. 5
    The Museum of Modern Art - MoMA
    11 W. 53rd St.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  3. 6
    The New-York Historical Society
    170 Central Park West
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10024
  1. 7
    Barneys New York
    660 Madison Ave
    Multiple Locations
    NY 10021

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