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Step back in time and into the beating heart of the American fashion industry on jam packed, ultra-exclusive day tours of New York City with fashion historians April Calahan and Cassidy Zachary, the hosts of the podcast Dressed: The History of Fashion. From world class fashion collections to the famed Garment District, this once-in-a-lifetime experience is filled with incredibly special, behind the “seams” tours not available to the general public. We will meet museum curators, past Dressed guests and expert fashion makers. You don’t want to miss these one-of-kind Dressed tours planned around the holidays so you can experience the magic of the city during this enchanting season!
Morning: We begin our fashion history-filled weekend with insider visits to M&S Schmalberg and Tom’s Sons International Pleating, family-operated ateliers that are two of the oldest of their kind in New York City–and the world.
M&S Schmalberg has been producing the highest quality fabric flowers since 1916 (including Carrie Bradshaw’s on And Just Like That!) Fourth-generation family member Adam Brand will regale us with the history of his family business before taking us into the workshops to observe first hand the flower-making process they have used in their atelier since the very beginning. We will admire up close their delicate creations that have adorned wedding gowns, hats, furnishings and accessories since the early 1900’s and even be able to ‘Carrie’ home a souvenir.
Our morning continues with a talk and tour of Tom’s Sons International Pleating, another family owned business in operation since 1931. Fifth-generation pleater George Kalijian will give us an intimate look at his family’s atelier exhibiting the methods of production that have kept their high-fashion, international clientele returning for years.
Lunch is on your own. Grab a quick slice of NY pizza and use your time to shop or relax in one of the many restaurants in the area before meeting back up with the group.
Afternoon: Next up, the most fashionable museum in NYC: The Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT). Our time at FIT will include not one, but two private collections tours led by April and Cassidy. For years, you have heard April talk about her work as a curator for FIT’s Special Collections and during this hands-on visit, we will look at rare and precious books, original designer sketches and fashion magazines dating back to the court of Marie Antoinette.
During our private access to The Museum at FIT’s Study Collection, Cassidy will take you on a journey through fashion history as we examine garments and accessories up close and personal! We will view real life examples of garments by many designers featured on the podcast, study their cut and construction and learn about their (sometimes) hidden histories.
Friday is completely dedicated to one of the most famous art and fashion institutions in the world: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
We will be among the first to tour the Costume Institute’s newly opened fall exhibition Women Dressing Women. This exciting exhibition will display works of women designers from 1910 to 2022 including Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, Anne Lowe, and contemporary designers such as Iris van Herpen and more. You will leave with an appreciation and understanding of the artistic and lasting legacies these women have left on the clothes we wear.
Splitting into two groups, we will be treated to two special, behind-the-seams presentations of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center and the Costume Institute.
Textiles literally weave the story of civilizations and the Antonio Ratti Textile Center houses one of the world’s largest textile collections with textiles dating back to 3000 B.C.E. Past Dressed guest, lacemaker and historian Elena Kanagy-Loux will guide us through a presentation of objects specially selected for us from the over 36,000 pieces in the Center’s collection.
Evening: We have a few self-guided options for you to consider this evening. While you are still at The Met, check out the exhibit Manet/Degas, a unique look at the artist’s careers which often highlighted the fashions of the Belle Epoque. Spend your time at the nearby Neue Gallery, home to German decorative arts as well as Klimt’s masterpiece, The Woman in Gold.
Our day begins at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum with a curator-led tour of the exhibition The Designs of Dorothy Liebes, the subject of a recent Dressed podcast episode. With a career spanning three decades, Dorothy Liebes was an innovator and driver of the mid century aesthetic. This exhibition will look at her designs in interiors, transportation, fashion and film that helped shape this iconic American style. Take your time to check out the rest of the museum before grabbing lunch on your own.
Next we head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a fashion history tour developed specifically for Dressed listeners by April and Cassidy. We will explore the Met's permanent collections in pursuit of the most spectacular examples of fashion and dress spanning time and cultures. From extant garments and accessories to paintings and sculpture, our tour takes us to some hidden recesses of the Met rarely visited by most museum-goers.
We will have the rest of the afternoon to explore the museum including the Costume Institute's newly opened exhibition Women Designing Women or the Manet/Degas exhibition which is full of wonderful depictions of 19th century fashion.
Evening: The evening will bring another special Dressed tour dedicated to the holiday and fashion themed windows of New York City’s department stores! We will learn all about the history of these famed shopping emporiums while enjoying the magical atmosphere that makes New York City a magical destination during the holiday season!
The cost for each day is $300 and includes all fees and admissions. Rooms/accommodations not included. Complete terms and conditions can be found here.