FIT Tribute to Lauren’s Look

18-year-old Bacall poses as a Red Cross WWII nurse on Harpers Bazaar cover, March 1943. Cover photo: Louise Dahl Wolfe

18-year-old Bacall poses as a Red Cross WWII nurse on Harpers Bazaar cover, March 1943. Cover photo: Louise Dahl Wolfe

What’s a New York City style icon to do when you run out of room at the Dakota but can’t bear to part with 700 of your favorite designer dresses, gown, daytime wear, and accessories? Give them to FIT, of course.

The FIT graduate students are paying tribute to the classic simplicity, clean lines, and casual elegance of a particularly generous donor in the capsule show, Lauren Bacall: The Look, on view at The Museum at FIT through April 4.

The show chronicles Bacall’s start (under the watchful eye of Ms. Vreeland) as a Forties’ cover girl and her quick ascent into the Hollywood pantheon as a 19-year-old leading lady in To Have and Have Not with her soon-to-be-husband Mr. Bogart.

The students have unearthed an early studio photo-test of various hairstyles for the Hollywood newcomer – revealing the casual, wavy down-to-the-shoulder look that would be her signature look for the rest of her life.

1968 Cardin dress of Dynel, which can be crushed and washed without losing its shape. Worn in the 1968 CBS fashion special, Bacall and The Boys

1968 Cardin dress of Dynel, which can be crushed and washed without losing its shape. Worn in the 1968 CBS fashion special, Bacall and The Boys

Take a look at clips of Lauren at her best in snippets from famous films, including How to Marry a Millionaire alongside Ms. Monroe and Designing Women.

On to the clothes: The narrow gallery displays a hot pink Norell coat from Sex and The Single Girl, but the focal point of the show is in the back room — an array of frocks custom-fit for Bacall from the leading Sixties designers as part of a 1968 CBS special, Bacall and The Boys.

The wall-size projection shows Bacall modeling the outfits you’ll see right in the gallery – looks from Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Mr. Ungaro, and Marc Bohan of Dior. All of the designers make appearances and clearly Ms. Bacall has an artist-muse connection with each of them.

The back wall features a silk Ungaro pantsuit with sleek dresses that became Ms. Bacall’s day-to-day “uniform” around town – most by Norell and Miss Dior. There’s also an iPad featuring close-ups of outfits that don’t appear in this capsule show (but do appear in the FIT show downstairs on Halston and YSL).

1968 CBS special Bacall and The Boys showing Yves Saint-Laurent with Lauren Bacall. Nearby are ensembles and dresses by Marc Bohan of Dior, Cardin, Norell, YSL, and Ungaro.

1968 CBS special Bacall and The Boys showing Yves Saint-Laurent with Lauren Bacall. Nearby are ensembles and dresses by Marc Bohan of Dior, Cardin, Norell, YSL, and Ungaro.

As always, the students have provided some digital punch to the show on line: Click through the FIT timeline, loaded with great 1960s-style fashion illustrations.

See what’s on the iPad by clicking here and enjoy looks from Ms. Bacall’s closet by Ossie Clark, Halston, YSL, Norell, Chanel, and Pucci.

For more of Lauren’s looks, visit the exhibition website, FIT’s Flickr website and our own Flickr site.

Norell’s 1956 “Subway” cashmere silk ensemble.

Norell’s 1956 “Subway” cashmere silk ensemble.

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