While The Hollywood Reporter readies to reveal its fourth annual list of the 25 most powerful Hollywood stylists on Wednesday, the East Coast is celebrating its own set of fashion talents with a new exhibition in the lobby of Manhattan's Fashion Institute of Technology, showcasing ten unique looks created by the coolest costume designers and stylists in the industry.
Through March 31, the Albright Fashion Library -- an open secret among New York fashion insiders complete with 30,000 items from 2,500 designers (think prototypes from the Paris runways and golden-era Tom Ford Gucci) -- is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with "Albright Goes to School," an exhibition of library-sourced looks created by the likes of red carpet powerhouse Kate Young, Vogue Italia veteran Lori Goldstein; Jay Z go-to-girl June Ambrose and Allure creative director (and fashion PR agency KCD co-founder) Paul Cavaco, among others. Set upon a quirky background of a New York fire escape scene, each personality's styled mannequin responds to the library's directive of displaying savoir-faire and gratefulness.
"I use them all the time for my fashion shoots and beauty brands campaigns," enthuses Kate Young of the Cooper Square fashion trove. "They have everything I need to style -- designers clothes, jewelry, bags, shoes, racks of racks of racks of white tops. And they have a great team."
One member of said team is Patricia Black, the library's personality-filled creative director who organized the MAC Cosmetics'-sponsored exhibit.
For her mannequin, Young -- who works with Michelle Williams and is writing on an upcoming Assouline book on evening dressing -- went with her bread and butter: formal wear.
"I picked up the most beautiful red carpet gown ever made," she says. "A Giambastista Valli red strapless gone in silk from the spring/summer 2006 collection, simple, bold, with enough texture to avoid boringness."
To create her look, costume designer Catherine George -- who is busy working on the upcoming Natalie Portman 1860s western Jane Got a Gun -- chose Lanvin.
"I use Albright when I have to dress characters who are influenced by fashion," George tells Pret-a-Reporter. "It's here that I found Tilda Swinton's perfect white outfit for her character in We Need to Talk about Kevin."
More feisty is costume designer Tom Broecker's mannequin, donned in an shiny Balmain ensemble that serves as homage to New York party girls. The dapper 30 Rock and SNL clothing alum -- who was recently crowned with an Outstanding Contemporary Television Series award by his Guild for House of Cards -- has also sworn not to forget Albright anytime soon:
"For House of Cards Season one, I obsessively needed a silver dress for Claire Underwood (Robin Wright). I couldn't find any in the designers collections for one week. I was walking in the street when it hit me that I hadn't tried Albright. A few blocks and here it was, of course. The perfect Victoria Beckham strapless, close fitted, full silver killer dress for episode five."
The dress is now back on the Albright racks, though it was changed from its original size six to fit Wright's size two. Are you really allowed to do that on an Albright rental?
Ask Patricia Black, and you'll get a shrug. "It's Tom. We allow anything for Tom."
"Albright Goes to School," March 10th through March 31st, at the Fashion Institute of Technology, 227 W 27th St., New York. (212) 217-7999. albrightnyc.com