Fairy Tale Fashion Explored at The Museum at FIT

Fairy Tale Fashion Explored at The Museum at FIT

As kids, we learned all about Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. Our parents often told us these stories of evil witches, beautiful princesses and enchanted lands as we’d drift off to sleep. Later, we saw reimagined versions of these ubiquitous stories in Disney movies and TV shows. Sure, we know all about Little Red Riding Hood’s cloak and Cinderella’s glass slippers, but unless used as a plot device, little else is known about the frocks and accessories of our favorite characters. Fairy Tale Fashion, an exhibition currently on view at The Museum at FIT in Chelsea, explores the ensembles worn by our childhood heroes through the lens of high fashion.

 On view thru April 16, this must-visit exhibition features more than 80 objects, including accessories and garments from the 18th century to present, as well as 21st-century fashions by Thom Browne, Dolce and Gabbana, Tom Ford, Giles, Mary Katrantzou, Marchesa, Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Prada, Rodarte, Walter Van Beirendonck and more. Each piece, displayed in a dream-like, storybook setting, examines how characters’ clothing reflects transformation, vanity, power and privilege.

Fashion is used to illustrate 14 classic fairy tales, which are divided into sections: “Forest,” featuring garments inspired by “Little Red Riding Hood,”  “Snow White,” “The Fairies,” “Rapunzel,” and “Snow White and Rose Red”; “Castle,” including “Cinderella,” “Furrypelts,” “The Snow Queen,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Sleeping Beauty”; and “Sea,” exploring the fashions of “The Little Mermaid” and “The Swan Maidens.”

The exhibition also includes displays devoted to “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Wizard of Oz,” as well as early 20th-century illustrations and recent large-scale photos that have played a part in shaping public perceptions of the fairy tale aesthetic.

For more information about the exhibition, click here.

Photo Credit: Alexander McQueen, digitally-printed dress, Plato’s Atlantis collection, spring 2010, England. The Museum at FIT, 2012.36.2, photograph © The Museum at FIT. (illustrating The Fairies) Marchesa, evening gown, spring 2012, USA. Lent by Marchesa, photograph © The Museum at FIT. (illustrating Sleeping Beauty)


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