Denim from the 19th Century to the 21st

Denim

As of Thursday, February 4, 2016

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Hussein Chalayan’s deconstructed dress and jacket

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1920 sailor’s work suit

NEW YORK—Levi Strauss filed the first patent for a distinctive pair of work pant made from a twill fabric in 1873. But denim work pants—or jeans—had been worn even earlier. The Fashion Institute of Technology recently organized “Denim: Fashion’s Frontier,” an exhibition charting the history and evolution of jeans, at the Fashion and Textile History Gallery at the Museum at FIT in New York.

From a pair of jeans dated from 1840 to Levi’s first foray into womenswear to the introduction of designer denim from Sasson and Guess to premium denim and denim as couture, the exhibition features more than 70 pieces from FIT’s permanent collection.

Highlights include an early pair of Guess jeans and a video of Brooke Shields’ iconic 1981 commercial for Calvin Klein.

There is a reproduction of a 1942 Claire McCardell “Pop Over” dress in denim as well as an original McCardell three-piece beach ensemble from 1945.

There are high-fashion denim pieces by Roberto Cavalli, Gianfranco Ferré, Dries Van Noten, Sacai and Chloé.

The exhibition runs through May. For more information, visit www.fitnyc.edu/museum.

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1960s-era hand-patched jeans

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1979 Fiorucci “Safety Jeans”

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Claire McCardell 1945 beach ensemble

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Marithé + Francois Girbaud, left, and Guess jeans, right

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Junya Watanabe, left, and Roberto Cavalli, right

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1916 women’s walking suit made from striped denim and a chambray work ensemble from the same era

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Jean Paul Gaultier, Katharine Hamnett and Gianfranco Ferré

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7 For All Mankind, Gucci and Acne Studios