Yesterday, I stumbled into the Museum at FIT to see the "Shoe Obsession" exhibit. I do not consider myself to be among the shoe "obsessed", but as a sculptural exhibit, wow was it beautifully curated, and definitely food for creative thought. While one extraordinary pair of shoes relentlessly called my name, I wandered the room, listening to the conversations people were having. Amid the gasps and purrs, I heard "You'd need to have a big, strong man next to you to walk in those shoes." and "No... no... you can't buy them. We're just looking at them. No, there is nothing to buy here!"
What did I learn? Above all, shoemaking is an engineering challenge. You have to understand the anatomy of the foot, the balance points, and the motion of walking, running, and standing to create a show that actually works. To give it beauty, on top of all of that effort? Now, that's a feat!
My advice is to watch the video upstairs before seeing the exhibit, because it will help you to think differently before you enter. This is an exhibit you can appreciate just on its surface, as in "Oh, look! Pretty shoes!", and well as "Whoa. Maybe those aren't just expensive shoes after all... Maybe they are works of art." Either way, great for your brain and heart. Oh, and your pocket. You can't buy them! or even try them on!
Not in New York? Watch the slideshow. Wanna see it? It closes this weekend, so hurry up!
There's a book, too!
Then, I stumbled upstairs to take a peek at the Fashion and Technology exhibit. The name of this exhibit didn't inspire me, but I just thought I'd check it out. And wow... Wow. What I saw, was an amazingly well curated and explained collection of inspiration, design "magic", and innovation, that I was totally blown away. Can't get to NYC? See the the online version.
Fashion "will renew itself through technology, new fibers, new ways of making clothes. Without risk, nothing changes the world."
-Ariele Elia and Emma McClendon, curators.
Every single time I decide that fashion is frivolous, silly, and I need to think about other things, I am re-energized by this amazing museum. I think about how many exhibits there have just moved me practically to tears, and I am just thankful that they exist, educate, and remind me of the importance of this art form. I'm in. Yes, I'm still in.