Norell: Dean of American Fashion exhibition to open in New York

The Museum at FIT reflects on Norman Norell’s decades-long career redefining American glamour with a large-scale retrospective opening in February.
 

Traina-Norell, sequined evening sheath worn by Dovima, 1959. Photograph by William Helburn. - Instagram: @museumatfit

The exhibition will display some 100 Norell ensembles and accessories, ranging from daytime looks to evening gowns. The majority of the pieces focus on the last twelve years of the New York designer’s career, from 1960 up until his death in 1972, but items dating as far back as the 30s will also be on display.
 
Among the sailor suits and menswear-inspired ensembles, Norell’s eveningwear, famed for its clean lines and glamorous sophistication, will take center stage, including his signature sequined mermaid dresses with their knitted jersey tails.
 
The exhibition is organized by guest curator Jeffrey Banks and the Musem at FIT’s director Patricia Mears. It is described as “an in-depth study of one of America’s greatest and most influential fashion designers”, by the museum’s website, which also explains, “Not only did [Norell] spearhead the concept of luxe ready-to-wear decades before his European contemporaries, but many of his classic works are still wearable today. Decades after his death, Norell’s legacy lives on."
 
Born in 1900, Norman Norell was perhaps the first US designer to catch the attention of the American elite, who had been more interested up until then in the creations of the European fashion houses. His sleek couture pieces gained a clientele of wealthy and influential women including Marilyn Monroe, Lena Horne, Jacqueline Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson.
 
As well as being elected as the second president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1965, the designer also won a number of accolades, including five Coty American Fashion Critics’ awards between 1943 and 1966, and a Parsons medal for distinguished achievement in 1956.
 
Founded in New York in 1969, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology is a specialized fashion museum receiving around 100,000 visitors a year.
 
The Norell: Dean of American Fashion exhibition will open at the Museum at FIT on February 9 and run through April 14, 2018. 

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