If you plan to be in New York before November 28 stop by the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) located at 227 West 27th Street and take a peek at its latest exhibition on the influence and impact the “Rose” flower has had in the fashion world as far back as 1700. Some of these design outfits in the show are a bit over the top, a combination of the eccentric with the classic, wonderfully done. I personally am not a fan of wearing a dress designed with flowers, especially roses, but I understand its appeal to others, especially the color red.  

The rose is a universal symbol of love. Why not wear it? In fact, it was once a motif of popular fashion, especially among women’s hats and accessories. 

 Here’s what I liked about the show…

The show has over 50 amazing ensembles from as far back as 1700 designed for both men and women; inspired by the flower rose and the symbolism and imagery of love and romance attached to it. My favorite was the Halston’s American Beauty Rose evening gown.

The range of garments from casual to ballroom on how fashion designers use the concept of roses and the color red to design clothes for all occasions is quite impressive. The exhibition walks you through three centuries of fashion history, from 1700 to the early 50s and the excessive styles of the 60s and 70s from all the major fashion designers– Dior, Halston, McQueen, Saint Laurent, among others.

Upon entering the exhibition, you first come across a collection of designer hats, most of them not as fashionable for today’s casually dressed woman but definitely wearable art. This raises the question why don’t American women wear hats (other than a baseball cap)? Unlike England, British women love to wear “Fascinators” (small, elaborate hats clipped to the wearer’s head) made popular by the Royal family princesses. Women’s hats today have been relegated to an older generation. God knows we all have bad hair days that can benefit from wearing any kind of a hat. In today’s casually dressed society, hats (not even the fascinator) fail to make the cut. 



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Getting back to the show (which is not really about hats), it also explores the use of different textiles, design patterns and elaborate embroideries combined with a range of colors –crimson red, pink and black representing all the different elements and symbolism that we identify with a rose, love and romance. There is also a bit of gender bending, as some designs are masculine and feminine for use by either males and females. The show can be seen virtual.  A book is available entitled “The Rose in Fashion…Ravishing” by Amy de la Haye, cocurator of the exhibition.

FIT does an excellent job of curating wonderful exhibitions that allows you to see how clothes influence our daily lives.  The previous one I attended was on the color of pink and how it was once used primarily by men. This exhibition is the first for FIT since closing its door due to the pandemic. If you are unable to make the trip, you can click here to access their videos. My photos capture many of the designs in the show.  Remember to click the center of the photo to see the full view. 

The Museum at FIT Special Exhibition Gallery

Wednesday – Friday: Noon – 8pm

Saturday – Sunday: 10am – 5pm

Monday – Tuesday: Closed

Legal Holidays: Closed

Free admission.



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