Prints of the City:

‘The Big, The Bold, and The Beautiful’ may sound like the name of a soap opera, but it is the title of the Museum at FIT’s new eye popping exhibit which explores the impact the invention of hand- screen printing had on the worlds of fashion and interiors during the 20th century. As the brochure aptly put it, this process “united the fields of fine art and commercial textile production” and made “individual expression” possible.

The way the display was set up illustrated how each decade was defined by a particular ‘theme’ (the 20s and 30’s were marked by the marriage of form and function; the 40’s through the 60’s were defined by Art Moderne and Art Nouveau; the post war period was all about camouflage, tropical florals, an interest in jazz and modernism). And it also captured the influence of “major artistic movements of the time”: Expressionism, Pop, Op-Art.

As an art major, a lover of bold optic prints, and a collector of Pucci, I found a lot of visual stimulus walking around the informative exhibit, and was especially drawn to the vintage Puccis (one of which was a gift from Lauren Bacall), the group of paper dresses (including the famous Warhol Campbell Soup Dress), the graphic Marimekkos, and the Claire McCardell cotton dress from the mid 50’s that was fashioned from a fabric designed by Chagall. It is definitely worth checking out and runs through August 2nd.



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

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