Designing a Decade

Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s, on view at The Museum at FIT through April 18, examines the careers of these two designers, one French, one American, who were enormously influential in shaping the look of the 1970s. Though the two are often considered diametrically opposed—Saint Laurent as a great colorist who imbued his clothes with drama and fantasy, versus Halston, the master of modernism and minimalism—the aesthetic similarities between their creations are undeniable. This exhibition marks the first in-depth comparison of the two designers, juxtaposing, for example, two menswear-influenced pieces, Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking woman’s tuxedo and Halston’s Ultrasuede shirtwaist dress. Patricia Mears, deputy director, and Emma McClendon, assistant curator, drew the 80 ensembles and 20 accessories exclusively from the museum’s archive, which contains the most comprehensive Halston collection in the world.

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Featured Photo: These two pajama sets—the one on the left in printed silk crepe by Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, c. 1970, the other in printed crepe de Chine by Halston, c. 1976—underscore just how similar the designers’ aesthetics could be. The Museum at FIT owns both pieces.

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