The Council of Fashion Designers of America, in honor of its 50th anniversary this year, asked its membership, which includes president Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Sean Combs and Michael Kors, to craft their own “impact statements” and choose outfits and photos they feel best represent their signature styles for a new exhibit opening at the Museum at FIT in Manhattan. There are 80 outfits on display in the show, called “Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA,” but the works of 450 designers are represented in a multimedia display and a companion book.

     “We are glad to show fashion in a cultural context,” said FIT’s Mears. “We want someone to look at the Stephen Burrows or Halston and say, `That’s from my youth,’ or remember Donna’s (Karan) woman-as-president ad campaign and remember the effect it had on them. They’ve all had impact beyond creating a beautiful dress.”

  There is something magical about the way this group was founded back in 1962, in a small room off of Seventh Avenue. It was the brain trust of 20 passionate designers who were motivated to create a safe haven for the members of their community. They sought to protect and promote their own,” von Furstenberg writes in the book. “Nearly half a century later, through triumphs and failures, with businesses made and broken, that small assemblage has evolved into a modern family of over 400 members.”

                       Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg

With its opening night appropriately coinciding with the first day of New York Fashion Week, the celebratory exhibition, Impact: 50 Years Of The CFDA, saw celebrities and designers galore, from Kate Winslet to Diane Von Furstenberg, raising a toast to the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

                          Steven Kolb, George Sharp and Kate Winsle

                                              Rachel Roy

                                           Betsey Johnson

                                           Patrick McDonald

                            James Gardner and Michelle Harperes

                                             Vera Wang

                                             Michael Kors

                                            Michelle Smith

                                           Rebecca Minkoff

                                         Catherine Malandrino

                            Yigal Azrouel and Annelise Peterson

If You Go…


Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, New York City;  212-217-4558

Open Tuesday-Friday, noon-8 p.m, Sundays 10 or 212-217-4558  a.m.-5 p.m. Free admission. “Impact: 50 Years of the CFDA” runs Feb. 10-April 17. http://fitnyc.edu/334.asp