Pockets to Purses: Fashion + Function
Pockets and purses provide immediate access to personal possessions, satisfying the need to carry money and other useful objects. They can also display luxury or emphasize fashionable gestures. Pockets to Purses: Fashion + Function was organized by graduate students in FIT’s Fashion and Textile Studies program.
The exhibition explored the history of pockets and purses as fashionable and functional objects that have evolved to accommodate the demands of modern life. Arranged chronologically, a selection of objects from the collection of The Museum at FIT analyzed the interplay between pockets and purses in both men’s and women’s wardrobes from the eighteenth century to the present. Themes of public versus private, fashion versus function, and masculine versus feminine were explored through garments, accessories, fashion plates, and video footage. Highlights included an early nineteenth century reticule fashioned from a man’s waistcoat pocket, a 1930’s Cartier clutch, a Bonnie Cashin raincoat, and an Hermés Kelly Bag.
Pockets to Purses: Fashion + Function was the first exhibition to examine both men’s and women’s pockets and bags in tandem. It highlighted their overlapping history, clarifying the relationship between pocket and purse for a wide audience. The diversity of objects demonstrated how pockets and purses have been utilized throughout history and how lifestyle changes have affected their design and use. This exhibition encouraged visitors to see the significance of these familiar, but dynamic objects.
Read more about Pockets to Purses.
Installation image: Pockets to Purses: Fashion + Function, MFIT, NYC, 2018. Courtesy of MFIT.