‘Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous’ Opens at The Museum at FIT

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On Tuesday, February 7, The Museum at FIT (MFIT) held the opening reception for Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style. Co-curated by Elizabeth Way, associate curator of costume at MFIT, and Elena Romero, journalist and assistant chair of Marketing Communications, the exhibition celebrates the birth of hip hop and its influence on fashion over the past five decades.

This is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition to explore this revolutionary and influential style, and features over 100 garments and accessories that capture the pivotal moments in hip hop fashion’s evolution.

Notable attendees included Dapper Dan, Misa Hylton, Christopher (CJ) Wallace, Ralph McDaniels, Fern Mallis, Marisol Deluna, Joele Frank, Eleanora Kennedy, Lauren Levison, Karen Eckhoff, Brennan Lowery, April Walker, General Steele, Kid Freeze (Clemente Moreno), Ernie Paniccioli, Eric Eremita, Brue and Shara McHayle, Dr. Valerie Steele, and co-curators Elena Romero and Elizabeth Way, among others.

The exhibition focuses primarily (but not exclusively) on the evolution of hip hop style in New York City and hip hop’s relationship with the fashion industry.

Looks featured within the exhibition were worn and made popular by artists such as Missy Elliott, LL Cool J, Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, Lil Nas X, Chuck D, Aaliyah, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and includes designs by Dapper Dan, April Walker, Cross Colours, Karl Kani, Sean John, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Versace.

Hip hop style has evolved significantly since 1973, when Clive Campbell, known as DJ Kool Herc, used turntables to create breakbeats and rapped over them, marking the birth of hip hop. Style is one of the most critical and far-reaching aspects of hip hop culture and extends far beyond baggy jeans, sports jerseys, and gold chains.

The exhibition has been made possible thanks to the generosity of the Couture Council of The Museum at FIT and The Coby Foundation. Special thanks to Barrett Barrera Projects. Special thanks to the Natural Diamond Council. The Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style invitation-only reception was sponsored by Lee.

The exhibition is free and open to the public and will run through April 23.

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