(NEW YORK) It’s not every day that stylists and costume designers are celebrated, let alone the behind-the-scenes resources they use. But last night, that’s exactly who was thrown into the spotlight when the Albright Fashion Library, and its founder Irene Albright, fêted their tenth anniversary with a M.A.C. sponsored exhibit at the Museum in FIT. And who better to define the library’s work than the talent who frequents the massive Albright archives? Ten select visionaries dressed mannequins in head-to-toe designer garb, all of which were displayed on a Stefan Beckman designed set. But these weren’t just any Balmain runway piece or Tom Ford goat hair jacket; each item was part of Albright’s collection of 20,000 pieces, which she started piecing together in the ‘70s. Back then, freelance stylists weren’t granted access to designer samples and other necessary resources they needed to make it in the biz. Her showroom opened in 1990 and was filled with Gucci accessories, Manolo Blahnik heels, and classic Chanel tweeds. With the help of creative director Patricia Black, The Albright Fashion Library has become the go-to spot for costuming period films or completing avant-garde photo shoots.
Last night, the likes of June Ambrose, Tom Broecker, Paul Cavaco, Catherine George, Lori Goldstein, Kathryn Neale, Mary Alice Stephenson, Patti Wilson, Freddie Leiba, and Kate Young unveiled their looks, culled from the depths of the library. “It was just great to be able to go to Albright and play with the clothes without having to think about a certain client or shoot,” explained Patti Wilson. “But I do have some favorite go-to-pieces; a beautiful sculptural black Balenciaga dress and the black leather Yves Saint Laurent bow blouse that I used for the exhibition.” Lori Goldstein is also a frequent visitor of the library: “I go for every job I have! We did a campaign with a luxury jewelry brand this past year with Joan Smalls and Amber Valletta and used so many gorgeous gowns. We still get calls to the office asking where we got the dresses from.” The result of this event will allow current FIT students exclusive access to the archive, allowing them to brush elbows with their icons, source products for school projects, and further their fashion education.
Following the unveiling of the ten looks, the stars of the evening, along with Albright, her daughter Marina Albright and the rest of their team, sped downtown for an intimate dinner hosted by M.A.C at Omar’s La Ranita in the West Village. The second part of the evening started with a prolonged cocktail hour, where Sophie Theallet, James Gager, Susanne Bartsch, and Valerie Steele mingled, leading to a cozy and lengthy dinner. Interspersed between the three courses were various impromptu speeches, with stylists sharing stories of certain looks they created within the Albright Library and remembering their first encounters with Albright. The dinner wrapped up well past 11 o’clock, but with a family-like atmosphere surrounding this welcoming bunch, what more would you expect?
BY DENA SILVER