Fashion may be for followers but
style is original is the message of a new exhibit which gives a glimpse into
the closets of 81 women who made their mark on Manhattan.
“Notorious & Notable: 20th Century
Women of Style,” which opens on Tuesday during New York Fashion Week,
includes fashions and jewels worn by glamorous newsmakers such as Jacqueline Kennedy
Onassis and stripper Gypsy Rose Lee.
“We’re not saying who is
notorious and who is notable,” said Judith Price, president of the
National Jewellery Institute, which collaborated on the exhibit.
“We’re leaving that up to the
beholder.” But she added that the exhibit at the Museum of the City of New
York honours “women who put their thumbprint on New York fashion.”
In addition to fashion icons, the
exhibit also pays homage to women who were prominent in society, politics,
business and the arts and who represent New York’s history and cultural
A turn-of-the-century black silk
gown worn by the wife of J.P. Morgan Jr. is shown across the runway from
Congresswoman Bella Abzug’s floppy hat and early 1970s maxi coat.
“Style is simple. You wear it.
It doesn’t wear you,” explained New York designer Jackie Rogers, whose
clients included Kennedy Onassis.
Designer Norman Norell’s sundress
for 1960s consumer advocate Betty Furness and singer Marian Anderson’s 1941
gold concert gown with feathers are also featured in the show.
“These are the show stoppers,” Price
said. “Here’s the gold handbag that Haile Selassie gave to Jackie, which
she should have given back,” she added, referring the gift from the former
emperor of Ethiopia to the then first lady.
Jewellery is also featured
prominently with designer Carolina Herrera’s blue topaz earrings and legendary
Vogue editor Diana Vreeland’s jewelled gold Tiffany pin on display.