Written By , on January 3, 2008

Recently attended FIT Museum’s Exoticism exhibition. It was unveiled to the public this past November but got a chance to take a look at it up close in December.

Fit Museum

With a handful of fashion exhibits at the various regulars you find that curators tend to recycle exhibits and throw in items we’ve seen before. Exoticism is dramatically different in that most (if not all) the fashions on display are displayed in a manner not seen before. The exhibit focuses on the fashion influence of different cultures over the past 250 years. The approach is straightforward, designers can get their inspiration from the simplest things to sources that are far flung and stretched at different corners of the globe. This exhibit focuses on the far flung sources and a myriad of cultures.

At first glance the piece by Dries Van Noten is not what one thinks about when looking at what FIT describes for the overall exhibition as:

moved from the Eurocentrism of the colonial past to the hybridity of today’s multicultural “global village.”

but if Eurocentrism is a reason for disqualification then the exhibition would not be as good as it truly is. Pieces from Alexandre Herchcovitch, Yeohlee, Vivienne Tam, Manish Arora and even having African designers Xuly Bët and Stoned Cherrie makes the whole thing one of the most well-rounded fashion exhibitions on multi-culturalism seen in a long time. The exhibition runs until May 7, 2008.

location: Seventh Avenue at 27 Street. New York City 10001-5992 | website

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  1. 01. Lisa K

    Deja vu anyone? This was done rather elaborately & very recently in the 90s by the Musee de la Mode in Paris (‘ Touches de Exotisme’ )& by the Met in NY, (‘Orientalism’), accompanied by lavish exhibit catalogs/books. What, are these museums running out of ideas? How many times do we really need to re-hash “Exotic, Non-European Fashion”, Poiret, Chanel & Lanvin? How about breaking out some of the rarely seen stuff from the depths of storage? The last interseting exhibit I remember seeing at FIT was the ‘Lucile’ retrospective. How about more exhibits featuring brilliant yet now-obscure designers like Boue Soeurs, Callot Soeurs or Valentina or maybe ‘Egyptian Revival Style’ ?

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