IMPACT: 50 Years of the CFDA
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology presents Impact: Fifty Years of the CFDA, the first museum exhibition to celebrate the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the leading fashion trade organization in the United States. Approximately 100 garments and accessories designed by the CFDA’s most impactful creators of the last 50 years will be on view from February 10 through April 17, 2012. Also included in the exhibition will be visual images and acknowledgment of the nearly 600 designers who have been members over the last five decades. Each living designer selected to participate in the exhibition will select a single object or ensemble that best represents his or her impact on the fashion world. Work by historical CFDA members will be selected by exhibition curators Patricia Mears, deputy director of The Museum at FIT, and Fred Dennis, the museums senior curator. Impact: Fifty Years of the CFDA is a collaborative partnership between The Museum at FIT and the CFDA.
Conceived by CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg, Impact will be an ode to the illustrious designs of the CFDA’s many members and will mark the organizations 50th anniversary in 2012.
Among the designers included in the exhibition will be Halston, Norman Norell, Pauline Trigre, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, Rudi Gernreich, Bob Mackie, James Galanos, Diane von Furstenberg, Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Isabel Toledo, Rodarte, and Proenza Schouler. The exhibition will be organized thematically to illuminate the broad spectrum of American creativity, from functional sportswear to couture-quality evening wear.
Founded in 1962 by publicist Eleanor Lambert and 50 of America’s leading fashion designers, the CFDA’s primary mandate was the recognition and promotion of fashion design talent based in the United States. Over the next five decades, as CFDA membership swelled to more than 400, its professional and philanthropic activities, outreach, and influence expanded exponentially. Today, in an era dominated by the designer label, it is perhaps difficult to comprehend how seminal a role the CFDA played in creating the platform for the recognition of individual creative talents in New York City, the nexus of global fashion.
American designers have always had impact on how people dress, said von Furstenberg. In honor of that creativity and in celebration of the CFDAs 50th anniversary, we are proud to present, in partnership with The Museum at FIT, an exhibit that represents the tremendous work of our members for the last five decades. Impact was the one word that came to mind immediately—it is so strong and defining of our individual and collective influence that we knew right away that our exhibit would be called Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA.
The Museum at FIT is extremely pleased to be collaborating with Diane von Furstenberg and the CFDA on the exhibition Impact, said Valerie Steele, museum director. Exhibition curator Patricia Mears is an authority on American fashion both past and present, and I’m sure our visitors will love to see which creations today’s designers have selected.
A publication also entitled Impact, produced by the CFDA and published by Abrams, will be the visually rich companion book to the exhibition. With more than 500 photographs, the book will document the evolution of the CFDA, from its birth in 1962, its early promotional efforts, and its strong ties to the arts, to the growth of its educational programs, its support of worthy causes, its own awards ceremony, its stewardship of fashion week, and its support of designers. Contributors include Diane von Furstenberg; Cathy Horyn, fashion journalist for The New York Times; and Patricia Mears.
About the CFDA
The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc, (CFDA) is a not-for-profit trade association founded in 1962 that leads industry-wide initiatives and whose membership consists of more than 400 of America’s foremost women’s wear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers. In addition to hosting the annual CFDA Fashion Awards, which recognize the top creative talent in the industry, the organization offers programs which support professional development and scholarships, including the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the Geoffrey Beene Design Scholar Award, the Liz Claiborne Scholarship Award, the CFDA/Teen Vogue Scholarship, and the Gilt All Star Scholarship. Member support is provided through the Business Services Network, a high-profile group of companies offering designers strategic opportunities. The CFDA Foundation, Inc. is a separate, not-for-profit organized to mobilize the membership to raise funds for charitable causes. Through the Foundation, the CFDA created and manages Fashion Targets Breast Cancer; raises funds for HIV/AIDS organizations with 7th on Sale; addresses the issue of model health with the CFDA Health Initiative; and is a key participant in other programs such as the annual Fashions Night Out.