The Museum at FIT Presents Statement Sleeves

The Museum at FIT in New York is set to explore the concept of “statement sleeves” in its 2024 exhibition, showcasing nearly 80 pieces from its permanent collection. The exhibition, which opens on January 24, will feature works from designers such as Balenciaga, Tom Ford, Schiaparelli, Vivienne Westwood, and Thierry Mugler. Curated by Colleen Hill, the exhibition will be organized thematically, focusing on the role of sleeves in self-expression and fashion history.

The exhibit will begin with a section called ‘Fundamental Forms’, providing an overview of common sleeve shapes. Highlights include a 1890s blouse with puffed sleeves and a 1920s man’s robe with kimono-inspired sleeves. The next section, ‘Opening Statements’, will explore the affinity of certain decades for elaborate sleeves, with garments from the 1890s, 1930s, and 1980s on display.

‘Puffs and Folds’ will delve into innovative sleeve shapes, while ‘Pleats and Ruffles,’ will showcase dramatic sleeve designs from the 1920s. The ‘Embellishment and Adornment’ section will feature eye-catching styles, including a 1968 couture dress by Marc Bohan for Dior with heavily embroidered sleeves.

The exhibition will also explore the functionality of sleeves in the ‘Performance and Purpose’ section, contrasting restrictive 19th-century designs with contemporary adaptive designs. The ‘Sheer and Split’ section will display designs such as an 1830 gown with sheer chiffon over-sleeves and a 2011 Marc Jacobs design with full split sleeves.

The exhibition will conclude with ‘Asymmetrical and Mismatched’, featuring playful designs like Stephen Burrows’ colourful creations and a Christian Francis Roth suit with a green wool sleeve embellished with the word ‘Rothola’. The exhibition will run from January 24 to August 25, 2024.