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Culture Watch
"Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA" published by Abrams.

Two of the greatest and most revered fashion organizations, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, have joined forces for the first time for a new exhibition entitled “Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA.” The exhibition, on view through April 17, marks the first time the work of the CFDA has been featured in any museum, and what better way to celebrate a major anniversary than with a look back at some of the greatest contributions made by its members.

“Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA” features approximately 100 garments and accessories designed by the CFDA’s most impactful creators of the last 50 years. In a recent press conference, CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg described the show: “It’s about driving design and pragmatism. It’s about where the words ‘fashion’ and ‘commercial’ blend in into the highway of success.”

Each CFDA member asked to participate in the exhibition contributed a piece that they felt best represented them. Narciso Rodriguez selected the red and black embroidered silk dress Michelle Obama wore on election night in 2008. Marc Jacobs chose a dress from his seminal 1993 Perry Ellis grunge collection. Von Furstenberg opted for her signature wrap dress in a leopard print.

Geoffrey Beene, Thakoon, Ralph Lauren, Oleg Cassini, Stan Herman, Tory Burch, Oscar de la Renta, Norma Kamali, Donna Karan, Betsey Johnson and Reed Krakoff were among the other designers who had pieces in the show.

A publication also entitled Impact, produced by the CFDA and published by Abrams, is a companion to the exhibition. With more than 500 photographs, the book documents the evolution of the CFDA, from its birth in 1962, its early promotional efforts, and its strong ties to the arts, to the growth of its educational programs, its support of worthy causes, its own awards ceremony, its stewardship of fashion week, and its support of designers. Contributors include Diane von Furstenberg; Cathy Horyn, fashion journalist for The New York Times; and Patricia Mears.

“Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA” is available at Books & Books.

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