Monday, December 27, 2010

Arnold Scaasi Exhibit at the MFA, Boston Part 1

I finally got over to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston the other day and was able to see the wonderful exhibit of Arnold Scaasi's work in Scaasi: American Couturier. BTW, sorry for the bluriness of some of these photos. The gallery had low lighting and I was working without a tripod.

While Scaasi was designing ready-to-wear fashion in the 1950s and early 60s, he stopped doing so to concentrate on one-of-a-kind couture creations in 1964. He designed for actresses and American women of high society including Mitzi Gaynor, Elizabeth Taylor, Brooke Astor, Ivana Trump and First Ladies Mamie Eisenhower and Barbara and Laura Bush.

In 1984, at the urging of Saks Fifth Avenue, Scaasi returned to ready-to-wear with the debut of his Scaasi Boutique label. The MFA exhibit includes 28 pieces by Scaasi. Most are couture garments made for four of his clients.

The silver brocade gown and red coat were made for actress Arlene Francis as part of her wardrobe for the Broadway play Once More, with Feeling. The polka dot bubble dress was made for Francis in 1958.

From 1967, this gown was made for Joetta Norban (wife of one of the owners of the nightclub El Morroco) to wear to the Peacock Ball. Is is fashioned of silk that is completely covered in coral and turquoise beads, embroidery, and silver foil. Incredible!

This dress was made for actress Natalie Wood. She wore it for her appearance on What's My Line in 1966. The lace floats away from the body in the back and the black underdress is backless to the waist. My photo is blurry but you can get a better look in this video. Watch it to the end for a great view of the back! BTW, the dress worn by Arlene Francis in the video is probably also designed by Scaasi.

There was an entire platform in the center of the room of garments made for actress Barbra Streisand. You'll probably recognize the black sequined pantsuit that Streisand wore to the Oscars in 1969. The yellow and black jumpsuit at the back was one of the costumes Scaasi designed for the film On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.

Streisand wore the rhinestone adorned pink gown to the 1970 Academy Awards when she presented the Oscar for best actor. She wore a matching tall pillbox hat.

More tomorrow!