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A great benefit of living in a metropolis like Los Angeles is that there are so many opportunities to enjoy culture. As a lifelong student of fashion, one of the places I go to get inspired, appreciate design and gain a new perspective is the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museum. Home to a changing series of exhibits throughout the year and, an added bonus, it is a freebie. A must do on any visit is a look-see at the adjacent gift shop, which has a well-edited selection of design books, jewelry, cards and clever gifts.

Currently on exhibit are selected items from the school’s 2,000 objects which are used for hands-on education. The exhibit spans fashion from 1850 -2000. A linear, graphic display of silhouettes illustrating the evolution in dress from 1859 -2000 greets visitors and creates a very effective visual snapshot. Dresses from the Victorian period through Vivienne Westwood‘s 2002 silk chiffon and gold lame evening gown compose the exhibit.

When I think of Bob Mackie, I think of Cher and loads of over the top sequins and feathers but this silk satin and crepe compound weave dress from 1977 showed me a subtler side of Bob that I thought it was swell.

Emilio Pucci and Andre Courreges – wow! Two stand-out designers from the 1960’s.

Yves Saint Laurent clearly drew on military influences when he designed this ensemble in 1977 made of cotton corduroy, wool gabardine, wool braid and silk tassel appliques. This is a very hot trend for 2010 which makes evident the cyclical nature of fashion.

An emerald green silk satin cocktail dress designed by James Galanos beautifully illustrates the look of the 1950’s.

To learn more about the designers featured in this exhibit log on: blog.FIDMmuseum.org.

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