You won't know where fashion is going, unless you know where it's been. Luckily, these museums do a great job of exploring not only the past and present, but also the future of fashion.
Over my non-consecutive seven years living in New York City from 2005 to now
(I spent 2007 in Milan, Italy at the Politecnico di Milano, and 2010-2014 in Shanghai, China working as a fashion designer),
there are two places I always go back to. The Fashion Institute of Technology Museum & The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Yes, there are many other places to experience fashion in NYC, but these two places always have me coming back for more.
THE FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY MUSEUM
For being a sort-of-mini-museum if you will, this place is filled with extensive exhibits, events, talks, and film premieres. For the cherry on top, all exhibits and most events are free. In New York City, a place where everything seems to cost money, this is a breath of fresh air.
The FIT Museum homepage is here.
The current exhibit is The Body: Fashion and Physique. It examines the relationship between the human form and fashion. It's on view now through May 5, 2018.
The upcoming special exhibit is Norell: Dean of American Fashion. Norell is an American designer known for his couture techniques. It's on view February 9, 2018 through April 14, 2018.
Click the link to see other upcoming exhibits at FIT incuding:
Pockets to Purses: Fashion + Function. March 6-13, 2018
Fashion Unraveled. May 25, 2018 - November 17, 2018
Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color. September 7, 2018 - January 5, 2019
Check out the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum Calendar of Events to find dates of upcoming events, film screenings, talks, and tours.
I'm looking forward to the New York premiere of the film We Margiela on April 17. A documentary about Maison Martin Margiela's fashion house. Don't forget to register for it!
If you're unable to make it to The FIT Museum, check out their online database collection of apparel and accessories.
THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
When it comes to fashion at the MET, the best known department is The Costume Institute. They organize consistently remarkable fashion exhibits that are preceded by The Met Gala, which is its annual fundraising event attended by the biggest names in fashion and show business. It marks the grand opening of The Costume Institute's annual fashion exhibit.
The MET Museum is 'pay what you wish', and their admission price is only a suggestion. So you won't break the bank if you want to visit every day :)
2018's exhibit will be Heavenly Bodies: Fashion And The Catholic Imagination.
The MET Gala will take place on May 7, 2018. The exhibit will run from May 10, 2018 through October 8, 2018.
If you're at The MET when The Costume Institute's big annual exhibit isn't showing, it's still worth visiting for the ongoing guided tour: Fashion In Art. This tour spotlights fashion-related history in The MET's permanent art collection. Tours typically run 5 days a week Tuesday through Saturday, once per day, and are one hour long.
If you're unable to make it to The MET at all, you can check out The Costume Institute's online collection database, which includes over 31,000 pieces.
There are so many amazing benefits to living in New York City, but with the internet, online database collections are an amazing alternative to live exhibits!
Comment below and let me know what is your go-to fashion museum.
Check out my video of Rei Kawakubo's exhibit at The Met, 'The Art Of The In-Between' on my YouTube Channel: The Fashion Run-Up. Don't forget to subscribe to get notifications when my latest video is uploaded.