Iconography: Lauren Bacall “The Look” Exhibition at FIT

The museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology is doing a swoon worthy exhibition of Lauren Bacall’s personal collection of pieces. She donated over 700 pieces to them over the years, and this is a selection that is guaranteed to induce salivation. My personal favorites:

Lauren_Bacall_68.143.6_20101013_01_450This glorious Norman Norell piece, designed with subway travel in mind. Cool and casual on the outside to get you where you’re going without drawing attention, with the vavavoom sequins and shimmer sheath dress beneath. I love the champagne color. Also a big fan of the era’s tendency to match jacket linings to the main garment.


And this 1968 Christian Dior silk jersey and ostrich feather piece of evening dress wonderment. Could I pull this off? Incredibly doubtful. Could I sew on ostrich feathers? Also incredibly doubtful. But faux fur sleeve accents to add that Scarlett O’Hara flair to a otherwise minimalistic black top? Now that’s within reach. Gotta work on my resting bitch face, though.

There is a digital version of the exhibit on FIT’s website (here) with tons of information and photos. Amazing, of course, I wish there was a bit more on her menswear pieces and earlier style, but that’s just my unfaltering love of the power suit speaking.


2 thoughts on “Iconography: Lauren Bacall “The Look” Exhibition at FIT”

  1. My Cousin and I saw the exhibit this past Saturday. It was fabulous. The “Subway Coat” was striking…who would have ever thought of lining a coat with sequined fabric? That is inspiring. In a way it’s like Ms. Bacall. Subtle and understated chic which is obvious and a real enduring sparkle inside. Even in later life she was lovely in looks and in personality. Did you get to the Halston & St. Laurent exhibit? That too was amazing. Halston’s draped evening wear looked so effortless but is so complex to create. It seemed as if many of them had no closures at all.

    1. I agree completely–there is something about Lauren Bacall that I find incredibly inspiring. She was so smart and sassy and self-sure in her roles that it’s hard not to be dazzled by her. Such charisma! And no, I didn’t see the Halston and St. Laurent exhibit, but I have a feeling I would have been mesmerized. I love studying these garments to inform my own sewing–right now I’m obsessed with Alexander McQueen, especially his suit jackets. They are so deceptively simple looking but so elegant.

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