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Exhibition: Pockets to Purses: Fashion + Function — Opens

March 6, 2018

Bonnie Cashin lime green raincoat
Bonnie Cashin, lime green cotton canvas short A-line raincoat and skirt with matching leather convertible collar, piping and “trompe l’oeil shoulder bag” applique.

March 6–31, 2018

Pockets and purses provide immediate access to personal possessions, satisfying the need to carry money and other useful objects. They can also display luxury or emphasize fashionable gestures. Pockets to Purses: Fashion + Function is organized by graduate students in FIT’s Fashion and Textile Studies program. The exhibition will explore the history of pockets and purses as fashionable and functional objects that have evolved to accommodate the demands of modern life.

Arranged chronologically, a selection of objects from the collection of The Museum at FIT will analyze the interplay between pockets and purses in both men’s and women’s wardrobes from the 18th century to the present. Themes of public versus private, fashion versus function, and masculine versus feminine will be explored through garments, accessories, fashion plates, and video footage. Highlights include an early 19th century reticule fashioned from a man’s waistcoat pocket, a 1930s Cartier clutch, a Bonnie Cashin raincoat, and an Hermès Kelly Bag.

Pockets to Purses: Fashion + Function will be the first exhibition to examine both men’s and women’s pockets and bags in tandem. It will highlight their overlapping history, clarifying the relationship between pocket and purse for a wide audience. The diversity of objects will demonstrate how pockets and purses were have been utilized throughout history and how lifestyle changes have affected their design and use. This exhibition will encourage visitors to see the significance of these familiar, but dynamic objects.

Exhibitions at The Museum at FIT are free and open to the public.


Gallery FIT, The Museum at FIT
Fashion Institute of Technology
New York City, NY 10001 United States
212 217.4558


The Museum at FIT
(212) 217-4558