As New York Fashion Week kicked off for another amazing season of runway looks and infamous parties last Thursday, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) revealed a glimpse of a collection that celebrates its fifty years in existence. Founded in 1962 by publicist Eleanor Lambert and just a handful of designers at that time, CFDA membership has grown to more than 400 today and represents many of America’s most prominent creative forces in the industry.

The exhibit, Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA, is now on display through April 17 at The Museum at FIT for all to witness its magnificence.  Organized by theme from exotic to resplendent, the collection features over 100 garments created by famed designers including Bill Blass, Giorgio di Sant’Angelo, Anna Sui, Diane von Furstenberg, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Tom Ford.

The pieces were chosen by the designers themselves based upon their significant impact to the industry and their vitality in the fashion world.  Curators Patricia Mears (Deputy Director) and Fred Dennis (Senior Curator) of MFIT knew just what pieces would grab attention and did not disappoint in their presentations.  The most eye catching of all was clearly the red Zac Posen gown that garnered much attention during the press preview.

Though only a portion of the designers are reflected in the fashion display, every member designer of the CFDA is acknowledged via the interactive digital media displays that flank the accessories section of the exhibit.  Guests can even see tweets that have been posted about the collection on the large screen near the gallery entrance.

Not only were many of the CFDA’s most prominent designers on hand to welcome the press and guests to their exhibit opening, but several of them gave heartfelt commentary on what membership has meant to them.  CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg acknowledged her fellow designers as her extended family, noting that although they may compete in the same markets, they are all in complete support one another individually.  Donna Karan reflected on her participation as a very important facet of her career, giving her a foundation after moving from Anne Klein to start her own line of clothing.

For those who wish to relish the beauty of the exhibit beyond the gallery presentations, the CFDA has also released a distinguished 300+ page book of the same title (Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA) that captures the personal sentiments of its designers and showcases 500 gorgeous images of their collective works.  Written by Deputy Director Mears, the book pays tribute to the first five decades in the CFDA’s existence and seeks to be the definite word on American fashion’s greatest moments.

Get to The Museum at FIT before April 17 to witness this breathtaking collection in person!



Cover photo via