It took two Israelis in New York City — one gallery owner and one curator — to put together an exhibit of historic fashion photographs that had been discovered on a city sidewalk.
The exhibit, “New York Fashion Rediscovered 1982-1997,” opened September 5, at 10 Times Square, coinciding with New York Fashion Week.
The exhibit brings to life a vivid period in the New York City fashion industry, when designers began creating high-end day and evening wear, as well as power dressing for women in the workforce.
Fashion designers and supermodels achieved celebrity status, and the celebrated moments of the runway shows were their finales, when designers would walk down the runway, arm-in-arm with the leading supermodels of the day. Those joyous moments are what was preserved in the fashion-loving photographs of the collection.
The fashion stars featured in the photographs included designers Anna Sui, Donna Karan, Liz Claiborne, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Perry Ellis, Isaac Mizrahi, Alber Elbaz, Anne Klein, Geoffrey Beene, Rebecca Moses, BCBG Max Azria, Linda Allard for Ellen Tracy, Adrienne Vittadini, and Gemma Kahng, and models Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Helena Christensen, and Kristen McMenamy.
“These golden moments evoke a time just before the digital camera, smartphones, live streaming, fast fashion, and the transition from domestic to offshore garment manufacturing,“ said curator Yaara Keydar. “Fashion is an ever-changing industry. This exhibition is an invitation to pause and reflect on fashion through spontaneous moments of larger-than-life, unretouched beauty — and absolute fun.”
Created by ZAZ10TS, a gallery owned by Tzili Charney and curated by Keydar, the exhibit was culled from the significant collection of 35mm slides that had been shot in the 1980s and 1990s by Japanese photographer Kishimitsu Hada and compiled by his mother, the late fashion journalist Yuriko Tomita.
After a 2008 fire in Tomita’s apartment, dozens of boxes housing the archive ended up on the sidewalk of 14th Street, a major thoroughfare in downtown Manhattan. A set designer, Gaetane Bertol, happened to pass by and recognized that the 25 boxes with Japanese captions were no less than a treasure trove of fashion history.
Bertol kept the boxes in her Brooklyn apartment for 10 years, and happened to casually mention them to Charney, who owns the ZAZ10TS gallery situated in the lobby of 1441 Broadway.
Charney then spoke to Keydar about them, with the thought of creating an exhibition that would pay homage to the designers who had once worked in that very building, including Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan, Liz Claiborne, Marc Jacobs, and the supermodels who wore their clothing.
“I was stunned,” said Keydar. “There were over 5,000 slides — a treasure trove with photos of all the great American fashion designers and the supermodels — Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell — all walking down the runway.”
Keydar researched the photo collection for a year, and then scanned the small, 35 mm slides and blew them up into large prints.
The photographs selected for the exhibition took the interior design of the building into consideration as well, using only photographs that could be coordinated with the Art Deco black, white, grey, and gold color scheme of the marble decorating the lobby.