From grunge to minimalism, fashion in the 90s marked a huge change from the over-the-top excess of the previous decade. The casually cool nature of the period made an unsurprising return to today’s zeitgeist as Gen Z and Millennial consumers recreate their childhood looks, designers reinterpret beloved silhouettes, and influencers have rock-inspired articles on social media.
In a timely move, ’90s fashion is now the focus of an upcoming exhibition at the Museum at FIT (MFIT) in New York City. Opened on January 19, 2022, “Reinvention and Restlessness: Fashion in the Nineties” features over 85 garments and accessories, most of which have been selected from MFIT’s permanent collection of 50,000 objects. Expect to see a pair of “Tabi” boots from Maison Martin Margiela from 1990, a grunge ensemble from Anna Sui’s spring 1993 collection and a green python leather look from Azzedine Alaïa’s 1991 spring show.
Other designers featured in the show include Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Tom Ford for Gucci, Helmet Lang and Versace.
According to the museum, the exhibition’s introductory gallery will highlight the connections between fashion and popular culture, from the growing presence of fashion on television to the growing fame of supermodels. Videos of catwalk presentations and clips from films and TV shows such as “Clueless” and “Sex and the City” help illustrate the theme. And the main gallery will feature eight major trends that helped define the 1990s: minimalism, grunge, return to luxury, deconstruction, retro revival, new technology, environmentalism, and the emergence of a global wardrobe.
In addition to the clothing and accessories on display, visitors will see illustrations of 10 key styles from Ruben Toledo’s exhibition, created specifically for “Reinvention and Restlessness: Fashion in the Nineties”. The exhibition design is by architect Kimberly Ackert, who was inspired by both deconstruction and minimalism.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a book of the same name, published by Rizzoli Electa and available at major bookstores. Written by exhibition curator Colleen Hill, the book will also include essays by curator and writer Shonagh Marshall, MFIT Deputy Editor Patricia Mears, and MFIT Principal Editor and Director Valerie Steele. It will contain more than 10 images by photographers such as Corrine Day, Patrick Demarchelier, Nick Knight, Rankin, David Sims and Ellen von Unwerth.
“The curator of acclaimed exhibitions such as’ Fairy Tale Fashion ‘, Colleen Hill has outdone herself with this brilliant and timely exhibition on’ 90s fashions, which are back in vogue for a new generation,” said Steele in a statement.
The exhibition is accompanied by MFIT’s 26th Annual Fashion Symposium. This virtual event will air on YouTube Premiere on Friday, February 11, 2022, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET.
The museum will be open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 12:00 to 20:00 and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 17:00. Admission is free. “Reinvention and restlessness: fashion in the nineties” will last until April 17, 2022.