The Museum at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology is one of the leading cultural centers of its kind and is housed at an internationally recognized university. Founded in 1969, the museum is dedicated to the preservation, collection, exhibition and study of fashion. Tens of thousands of individual pieces comprise the permanent holdings, including textiles, designs, accessories and visual materials. Counted among them are some 4,000 pairs of shoes, 3,000 hats, and 30,000 textiles, some dating from as early as the 5th century. The Museum at FIT maintains amazing collections of costumes and garments from influential fashion authorities such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Manolo Blahnik and Christian Dior. Additionally, the institution possesses a number of textile works and fashion photography by artists such as Salvador Dali and Louise Dahl-Wolfe.
The collection is widely considered one of the most important and comprehensive in the world and it is frequently used by the scholarly and professional communities. The pieces are arranged in exhibits that explore the past and present of the fashion industry. Perhaps the most popular exhibitions are the temporary installations, some of the most successful of which have included London Fashion, The Corset, Japan Fashion Now and the current show Shoe Obsession. The entire institution is overseen by fashion historian Valerie Steele, whose immense knowledge of the industry is evident in every facet of the museum. Visitors should also take advantage of frequently hosted engaging public programming, including lectures, panel discussions, guided tours and more, all free of charge. The Museum at FIT presents a wonderful opportunity to explore New York City’s fashion legacy. Free admission. Closed Sundays and Mondays. 227 West 27th Street, Manhattan. (212) 217-4558 http://www.fitnyc.edu/13666.asp