Image courtesy of FIT.

Free admission (all visitors, all hours)

“Minimalism/Maximalism” is the first exhibition devoted to the historical interplay of minimalist and maximalist aesthetics as expressed through high fashion. The exhibition begins with the eighteenth century and proceeds through the history of fashion, examining relationships between the two aesthetics that have moved fashion forward. Minimalist and maximalist fashions represent extremes on a design continuum. Both, however, seek to challenge perception and, as mediums of cultural expression, are linked to the times in which they occur. Minimalism and maximalism differ in their design approaches, but connect to broader movements of sociocultural, economic, and technological change. As they adapt to new eras, each stimulates and defines the other.

Sir Issac Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Similarly, every fashion movement is a response to what came before it, perpetuating a design cycle that alternates between exuberant and restrained. Sartorial expression ranges from minimalist to maximalist, with some designers identifying almost exclusively with one aesthetic over the other. Calvin Klein, for instance, was known for fashion minimalism, while Christian Lacroix was famous for his elaborate maximalist fashions.