fashion-forward: may events


by Mallory Passuite, 04/27/2011

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April showers might bring May flowers, but in New York they also bring a major Alexander McQueen exhibition, a denim shop-and-factory in one and Daphne Guinness getting dressed in the windows of Barneys. It's a month of grand galas, fast-fashion designer collaborations, big sales and more.

Stores & Sales

May 2
Daphne Guinness: Fashion as Art
Barneys New York, 660 Madison Ave., 212-826-8900
Couture collector Daphne Guinness fetes The Metropolitan Museum of Art's retrospective of designer Alexander McQueen, her late friend, in a novel way at Barneys New York. The six-week-long performance-art piece, which includes, among other elements, a short film about Guinness' life, begins May 2 with an appearance by the style icon. She will be dressing for that night's Met Costume Institute Gala—in McQueen, of course—in one of Barneys' Madison Avenue windows.

May 2
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., 212-535-7710
The annual gala benefits The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and marks the opening of the institution's spring fashion exhibition, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. While you can't count on crashing—the party is the fashion world's most important red carpet—you can at least hang with heiress and style icon Daphne Guinness while she gets ready to go.

May 4
Kelly Cutrone: Normal Gets You Nowhere
Barnes & Noble TriBeCa, 97 Warren St., 212-587-5389
"I know you don't feel normal, so why are you trying to act it and prove to everyone you are?" Such is an example of the life lessons of Kelly Cutrone, founder of fashion PR firm People's Revolution and star of Kell on Earth. She discusses those learnings in her new book, Normal Gets You Nowhere, and at Barnes & Noble tonight, beginning at 7pm. This volume follows her New York Times best-selling debut, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside; here, Cutrone invites readers to let their freak flags fly as a way to find their true selves and success.

May 12
Kate Betts: Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre at Fashion Institute of Technology, Seventh Avenue and West 27th Street, 212-217-7999
Fashion journalist Kate Betts is among those who have called Michelle Obama the next Jackie O. In Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style, Betts explores the first lady's sense of style and why it matters, with historical context, color photos and designer interviews. Betts will discuss her book at FIT beginning at 6pm. A signing will follow.

Beginning May 13
L’amour Fou

IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave., 212-924-7771
“I hope they will fly away, like birds,” Pierre Bergé said of the objets d’art he once shared with the love of his life, the late, legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent, before the couple’s art collection sold at what is often referred to as the auction of the century. In this 2010 documentary, Bergé parts with these pieces as he struggles with the loss of his lover, who he says would disapprove of the sale. L’amour Fou, the directorial debut of Pierre Thoretton, presents a love story, gloomy and glamorous, woven between scenes from the auction, Bergé’s reflection, rare archival footage and charming, vintage interview clips with Laurent. The already-award-winning documentary opens at IFC Center on May 13.

Through May 10
His & Hers
The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue and West 27th Street, 212-217-4558
From an 18th-century velvet court suit for men to an '80s Yves Saint Laurent power suit for women, this exhibition at The Museum at FIT explores the evolution of masculine and feminine identity in dress.

Through May 27
Who's That Girl? Georges Dambier: Fashioning the Fifties
Bonni Benrubi Gallery, 41 E. 57th St., 212-888-6007
When French photographer Georges Dambier shot for Elle magazine in the '50s, he brought a new sensibility to the world of fashion photography, which had tended toward photographs of models in antiseptic studio settings. Dambier's portraits are full of life and emotion, showing women in real-world settings and situations. The photographer's subjects have included such icons as Brigitte Bardot, Suzy Parker and Catherine Deneuve.

Through June 5
Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, 2 E. 91st St., 212-849-8400

Russian-born French artist Sonia Delaunay began exploring color as a painter, before she and her husband, Robert, developed their theory of simultaneity, which describes the sensation of movement born when contrasting colors appear beside each other. When Delaunay launched Atelier Simultané (crafting hats, scarves, swimsuits) in 1920s Paris, she incorporated the theory into fashion and fabric design and continued her work while designing for Dutch department store Metz & Company. This collection includes paintings, fabric swatches, garments and photographs.

Through July 4
Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, 2 E. 91st St., 212-849-8400

The Cooper-Hewitt, which serves as the country's National Design Museum under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, presents vintage Van Cleef & Arpels in this comprehensive look at the legendary line, established in Paris in 1906. One highlight: Marlene Dietrich's 1937 ruby-and-diamond jarretière bracelet.

May 4–July 31
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., 212-535-7710

Alexander McQueen was a fashion icon—a four-time British Designer of the Year—when he took his life in February 2010. But his legacy lives on, especially as seen in the innovative, avant-garde creations exhibited in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute's new show. The retrospective includes work spanning from his 1992 postgraduate collection to his final runway presentation, held nearly a month after his untimely death. Savage Beauty (an apt title) showcases McQueen's genius—dark and dangerous, ethereal and beautiful.

May 12–July 2
The Kate Moss Portfolio and Other Stories

Danziger Projects, 527 W. 23rd St., 212-629-6778
"Even though I wasn't that naive at the time, I really look it," Kate Moss told The New York Times of her favorite image in the career-spanning portfolio she's created with Danziger Projects. The black-and-white photograph, shot by her then-boyfriend, fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti, in 1993, features a 19-year-old, nude and doe-eyed Moss. "I'd left London and went to New York and everything started to happen," she said of the time the photo was taken. Working runways and gracing magazine covers at "just" 5 feet, 7 inches, and well into her 30s, the English supermodel has defied (and defined) industry standards. This series reflects the coalescence of fashion and art, with images by Mert & Marcus, Chuck Close, Annie Leibovitz and more.

May 18–July 31
Knoll Textiles, 1945–2010
Bard Graduate Center Gallery, 18 W. 86th St., 212-501-3000
While Knoll is best known for such modern furniture pieces as the womb and tulip chairs (fashioned by ingenious architect Eero Saarinen), its contributions to textile design are often overlooked. When Hans Knoll, who founded the company in 1938, married Florence Schust in 1946, the brand was reborn. A protégée of Saarinen, Schust brought new contacts and a commitment to innovation to Knoll, which began commissioning its own textiles a year later, with a range of new materials, textures, bold color and patterns. Today, the company continues to innovate by commissioning fresh design talent and developing environmentally friendly products.

May 20–September 4
Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands
The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave., 212-685-0008

Illuminating Fashion explores the evolution of the concept of fashion in Northern Europe, from the fashion revolution of the early 14th century, marked by rapid change in clothing styles, to the rise of the Renaissance. The exhibition showcases period clothing styles in art and illuminated medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and re-created ensembles to dramatize the works.

May 25–November 5

Sporting Life
The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue and West 27th Street, 212-217-4558
With the constant convergence of fashion and art, and a recent influx of foodie couture (remember Simon Doonan's elaborate ode to celebrity chefs and cuisine in Barneys' last holiday windows?), it's easy to take for granted other style mergers, especially those that are effortlessly woven into our everyday lives. But with Sporting Life, The Museum at FIT reminds us of an important one. The exhibition explores how active sportswear and fashion have influenced each other—in silhouette, textile and more—over the past 150 years.

Stores & Sales 
May 5–21
Uniqlo Collaborations: Charlotte Ronson and Vena Cava
546 Broadway, 917-237-8811
The +J line, designed by Jil Sander for Uniqlo, won the 2011 Brit Insurance Design Award, typically reserved for luxury labels, last March. But the Japanese fashion chain isn't resting on its laurels: Uniqlo has already announced a lineup of new designer collaborations that includes Charlotte Ronson, in stores on May 5, and Vena Cava, available beginning May 12. Each label will design six pieces, to retail for only $29.99 each.

May 69
Comme des Garçons: New York Market Market
Croatian Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, 504 W. 41st St., 212-604-0013
Avant-garde Japanese fashion line Comme des Garçons, run faithfully by Rei Kawakubo, is holding its first-ever sample sale in NYC. With the stunning Croatian Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius as its venue, the sale promises to be a true event, featuring pieces from every Comme des Garçons collection (to be replenished throughout the weekend) at 70% off.

May 12–15

POSH New York Sample Sale for Lighthouse International
The Plaza Hotel, 1 W. 59th St.
The 39th-annual sale to benefit Lighthouse International, an organization dedicated to fighting vision loss, boasts high-end designer goods for men, women and children for up to 80% off retail. Last year's labels included Manolo Blahnik, Carolina Herrera and Nicole Miller. Purchase a single-day admission ticket for $10 or a four-day pass for $30. Visit for more info.

May 18–22
Theory Sample Sale
SSS Sample Sales, 261 W. 36 St., 2nd fl.
Find women's spring and summer dresses, skirts, tanks, tees, pants and more on major markdown.

May 19
Pamela Love + Topshop
Topshop, 478 Broadway, 212-966-9555
New York–based jewelry maker Pamela Love teams up with Topshop in an exciting collaboration, the British chain's first with an American designer. Love, whose popularity grew from pieces like her talon cuff and crow-skull necklace, told Vogue that she wanted the five-part collection to evoke "the spirit of America." With motifs like dream catchers and arrows, pieces draw from classic Native American style, while maintaining the downtown edge for which Love is known.

May 19–20
WANT Agency Sample Sale: ACNE, Nudie Jeans, Filippa K and WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie
60 Grand St.
Find 50% to 75% off clothing, footwear and accessories for men and women from top Swedish labels like Acne, Nudie Jeans Co. and Filippa K, as well as Canadian line WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie. The sale will run from 11am to 8pm on both days. Make sure to have plenty of cash on hand because credit cards will not be accepted.

May 20–22
Sigerson Morrison Blowout Sale
Steven Sclaroff, 44 White St.
Twenty years after cofounding beloved shoe label Sigerson Morrison in New York, designers Kari Sigerson and Miranda Morrison announced in March that they would be leaving the company. And to bid a fabulous farewell, the duo will offer a final, major sale, with items up to 75% off, at which they will be present for a meet and greet. The sale runs from 1 to 7pm on Friday and Saturday, and 2 to 5pm on Sunday.

May 30
Cynthia Rowley in Southampton
Capri Southampton, 1655 County Road 39, Southampton, 631-287-0908
Cynthia Rowley opens shop in Southampton's Capri hotel, stocking her regular lines plus her new men's line, Mr. Powers.

May (Date TBD)
(3x1) Denim Concept Shop
15 Mercer St.
Scott Morrison, who co-founded denim lines Paper Denim and Cloth and Earnest Sewn, has co-founded yet another jean dream. The (3x1) denim concept shop is a retail store, denim gallery, design house and manufacturing center all in one. Customers can create and customize their own jeans and watch them be sewn on-site. The opening date is yet to be determined; check back for details.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    The Met
    Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028
  2. 2
    Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
    Seventh Ave. at 27th St.
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10001
  3. 3
    Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
    2 E. 91st St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10128
  1. 4
    The Morgan Library & Museum
    225 Madison Ave.
    Manhattan – Murray Hill
    NY 10016
  2. 5
    The Plaza Hotel
    Fifth Ave. at Central Park South
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  3. 6
    478 Broadway
    Manhattan – SoHo

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