An Evening of Fashion & Music at Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall

An Evening of Fashion & Music
On May 16, 1990, the stage of Carnegie Hall was transformed into a fashion runway for "An Evening of Fashion & Music," a gala benefit for Carnegie Hall. The event was captured by photographer Steve J. Sherman.

The Program

The program for “An Evening of Fashion & Music" listed all of the participating designers and the gala's co-chairs, Mercedes Bass and Oscar de la Renta.

Day and Evening Wear

The designers showed clothes from both their day and evening wear collections, presented in alphabetical order by designer. At the end of the show, all of the designers who were present appeared on stage.

The Hostesses

Soprano Beverly Sills, who had recently retired from her post as general director of New York City Opera, and television journalist Barbara Walters co-hosted the event.

James D. Wolfensohn (left) with Gala Co-Chairmen Mercedes Bass and Oscar de la Renta

Oscar and Annette de la Renta

Carnegie Hall
For more than a century, Carnegie Hall has been the place where distinctive artists of all stripes have come to make their names in New York City. This tradition of excellence has made Carnegie Hall an essential part of the city’s cultural fabric and the world’s most famous concert hall. 
The Designers
For the first time in the United States, 19 top international fashion designers joined in a cooperative effort to present creations from each of their Fall 1990 collections.

Giorgio Armani Collection

In Europe throughout the 1970s, Giorgio Armani was known for his ready-to-wear lines of Italian tailoring for men and women. His popularity spread to the US when Richard Gere wore his clothes in the 1980 film American Gigolo. In 1991, he introduced the A/X Armani Exchange lines and boutiques.

Giorgio Armani Collection

The garments shown here reveal the menswear-style tailoring that made Armani famous, carried out on luxury fabrics and in rich colors, including (on the center and stage-left models) the gold of Carnegie Hall’s molding.

Bill Blass Collection

American designer Bill Blass was known for his day and evening wear, which was worn by many high-visibility socialites and professional women, such as Barbara Walters and Nancy Reagan. He was a major figure in both fashion and philanthropy.

Bill Blass Collection

This photograph shows Blass's collection of daytime suits on models, arrayed on the double ramps and wide “runway” staircase installed on the Carnegie Hall stage. Bobby Short, who provided musical interludes, can be seen at the piano.

Fendi Collection

Opened in 1925, Fendi maintained its reputation for innovation in fur designs for more than 90 years and three generations. The house has since introduced experiments with color (from 1969) and structure. Fendi’s leather-lined furs were described in Vogue (August 1986) as having “enveloping scale and a shape as effortless—with an attitude as easy—as a wrap robe,” and credited with turning fur from status symbol to fashion.

Fendi Collection

These circular outer garments, fur-lined in leather, were designed by Karl Lagerfeld for Fendi’s 1989 collection, the year when the first Fendi boutique opened in New York.

Hubert de Givenchy Collection

Hubert de Givenchy Collection

Christian Lacroix Collection

Christian Lacroix—born in Arles, 1951—studied art and costume history before turning to fashion design. He worked for Hermes before presenting collections under his own name. His couture garments were admired for their palette of colors and surface decoration. Lacroix is also known as a costume designer, remembered for his innovative adaptations of 19th-century forms—such as the corset and pouf over-skirt—shown in his work with Madonna and for ballet productions.

Christian Lacroix Collection

These evening suits demonstrate Lacroix’s experiments with scale, based on his theater design.

Oscar de la Renta Collection
Oscar de la Renta—Designer, Carnegie Hall Trustee, and President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America

Oscar de la Renta Collection

Oscar de la Renta trained under Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga.

Oscar de la Renta Collection

Oscar de la Renta Collection

In 1990, he was widely known for his ready-to-wear collections and was expanding into a haute couture line in the Balenciaga tradition.

Oscar de la Renta Collection

The de la Renta gowns shown here are inspired by Asia and combine fitted jackets and long skirts in different—yet complementary—brocades and silk.

Calvin Klein Collection

Calvin Klein was born in the Bronx, 1942, and studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He was an influential designer of tailored women’s suits and cocktail-length dresses, which are shown here. His sportswear collections also thrived following the introduction of his extremely popular jeans line in 1976.

Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld Collection

Karl Lagerfeld—born in Hamburg, 1938—trained in Paris. He was associated with the couture houses of Balmain, Patou, and (for 20 years) Chloé. He maintains both his own lines of fashion and accessories, but the garments shown at Carnegie Hall represent his work for Chanel. The blue and orange garments demonstrate his designs based on Coco Chanel’s late-career triumph, the hip-length “Chanel suit.” Elements of the other two outfits, such as the contrast binding on the white jacket, also refer to Chanel designs.

Issey Miyake Collection

Born in Hiroshima, 1938, Issey Miyake is honored as a founder of the Japanese avant-garde fashion movement. He was trained in graphic design and studied tailoring in Paris. He had been known for his loose, unstructured clothes. But, for the the 1989-1990 seasons, he was experimenting with the stretch polyesters, very short shorts (on stage-right models) and cropped bodices (stage left), shown here over body suits.

Isaac Mizrahi Collection

The New York–born Mizrahi was at the beginning of his career, having opened his own luxury sportswear house in 1987. He presented fluid variations on men’s tailoring in bright, solid colors for women.

Isaac Mizrahi Collection

Mizrahi later expanded into ready-to-wear collections. He is also known for his television appearances, and as a designer and director of ballet and opera productions, frequently in collaboration with Mark Morris.

Hanae Mori Collection

Hanae Mori's 1989 Haute Couture collection was admired for “combining impeccable Western dressmaking skills with the beauty of Japanese culture elements, such as calligraphy printed on silk chiffon.”

Hanae Mori Collection

Mori—born in Japan, 1926—worked as a film costume designer before turning to fashion.

Hanae Mori Collection

The gowns pictured here are deconstructed saris.

Carolyne Roehm Collection

Mentored by Oscar de la Renta, Carolyne Roehm was known for her glamorous evening wear made with brocades and lustrous satins. That season in particular, her collection featured split overskirts. She was the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1990 and a supporter of Carnegie Hall. She is currently also known as a lifestyle writer and expert.

The Finale

On stage are designers Calvin Klein (center), Carla Fendi (far left), Hubert de Givenchy (center), and Donna Karan (second from right).

Bill Blass and Carla Fendi (second from right), together with collections of Giorgio Armani (left) and Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld (center), arrayed on one of the runway ramps for their final bows.

Hosts Beverly Sills and Barbara Walters, musical guest pianist Bobby Short, Oscar de la Renta, and other participating designers who were present take a bow at the end of the show.

Oscar de la Renta

In 2014, Carnegie Hall awarded Oscar de la Renta its Medal of Excellence, which honors distinguished members of the business community in recognition of their dedication and partnership with the arts.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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