The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology opened a new exhibition last month showcasing design highlights from their extensive fashion/costume archive. Curated alphabetically, the exhibit presented looks from 50 designers working from the 1900s through today. It was called “The Great Designers.” This proved a little problematic; journalists covering the exhibition — as well as, presumably, its visitors — were reportedly puzzled about which designers (all or a selection?) on show were being labeled as truly “great”; perhaps more pressing, some designers not included felt snubbed.
In response to the feedback, the Museum is closing the exhibition — but just briefly, to facilitate a change in its title. The works on show will not be altered, instead referred to collectively as, “Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of the Museum at F.I.T.” In a statement accompanying the news, museum officials noted, “it has become evident that the title does not accurately reflect the theme of the exhibition … because [“The Great Designers”] was curated exclusively from the museum’s permanent collection, the selection is not a qualitative statement about modern designers, but rather a display of the range of the museums holdings.”
Part Two of the exhibition will be on show starting next May with the same (amended) name, but a different selection of designers’ work, also pulled from F.I.T.’s archive.