Review of ‘Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s’ at the Museum at FIT

March 9, 2015 9:48 PM

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Review of ‘Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s’ at the Museum at FIT

The new exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology—“Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s”—is a potent time capsule. The Special Exhibitions Gallery, sheathed in a gleaming white vinyl that scoops the floor up onto the walls, seems to float. Down the center of this snow-white realm stand three plexiglass pods, each a mini metropolis of transparent corridors curving within transparent cubes. The visual sensation is simultaneously spartan and swirling: The laboratory meets the disco, the space-age mod of the ’60s now the erotic modernism of the ’70s. In the ’70s the disco was a kind of laboratory: a Kubla Khan pleasure-dome for Saint Laurent; a distilled whirling dervish for Halston. The gleaming white vinyl in this gallery is actually flooring for dance.

In fact, this exhibition is a lablike exploration set within strict parameters. Curator Patricia Mears —struck by all the books, exhibitions and documentaries that have been done on both Halston and Saint Laurent—realized that the two designers had never been studied side by side. (Note to world: Fa...

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