Wednesday, December 7, 2011

MLFH Presents its first Pop-up Museum Exhibit with 48-hour display of Arnold Scaasi gowns in the Recreation Center at Johnson & Wales University-North Miami Campus.

1980s Scaasi couture gown on display at Johnson & Wales University
SCAASI: An Iconic American Fashion Designer exhibition has been organized and developed by the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History. Through a collaborative partnership with the College of Business at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, FL, this Pop-up Museum Exhibit has a 48-hour display from December 7 – 8th, 2011, at the school.
The exhibit showcases twelve couture gowns circa 1980s & 1990s created by Arnold Scaasi. They are displayed in The Recreation Center at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, FL.  The Recreation Center has been transformed from the site of pool tables, card games and a laundry room to a red and black fabric draped gallery with red carpet as an ode to the design greatness of Arnold Scaasi.

A Public Day for the Pop-Up Museum Exhibit will be hosted on Thursday, December 8th from 2:15pm to 4:15pm at Johnson & Wales University.  Admission is Free.
Also on Public Day, Thursday, December 8th at 3:15pm, fashion author Pamela Parmal will conduct a lecture about her book Scaasi: American Couturier.  The public lecture is free but books are sold separately and Parmal will be on hand to autograph the photographic book.  Reservations are required for the lecture due to limited seating.  E-mail: or call: 561-243-2662.
Arnold Scaasi will be honored as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at a by-invitation-only awards ceremony at Johnson & Wales University.
The Recreation Center  (near the McGregor Library) at Johnson & Wales University  at 1701 N.E. 127th Street, North Miami, FL
Sponsors, to date: Fred & Jean Sharf, Patricia Ann Ravo Fund, Boris & Edith Rueger Fund, US 1 AC Self Storage and Aloha Cleaners.  Print News Media Sponsor is The Palm Beach Daily News

Special thank you to Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, Florida for the collaborative partnership.

1961. Arnold Scaasi. Photo by John French
About the Scaasi Collection at Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History
The Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History is scheduled to present a feature exhibit of more than 20 Scaasi gowns opening on December 21st at the Museum’s home inside the Boynton Beach Mall in Boynton Beach, Florida. The Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History received that collection from the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. The exhibit has been curated by Lori J. Durante. For more information, visit or call: 561-243-2662.
About Arnold Scaasi:
Born Arnold Isaacs on May 8, 1930, the Montreal native studied at the Cotnoir-Capponi School of Design in Montreal and the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne in Paris, where he apprenticed at the House of Paquin before moving to New York City to work with renowned designer Charles James (1953–54).  Shortly thereafter, Isaacs was turned around and became “Scaasi.” He gained recognition for his designs, and in 1955, the December cover of Vogue pictured a coat he designed for Dressmaker Casuals (a Seventh Avenue manufacturer), creating the buzz that helped Scaasi launch his ready-to-wear line the following year.  In 1958, the designer won the prestigious Coty Fashion critics Award and his success was assure  By 1964, Scaasi decided to devote his full attention to custom clothes, opening his couture salon.
Scaasi mastered draping and created refined silhouettes in sumptuous fabrics. His designs are intricately constructed, averaging approximately 120 working hours for each outfit and involving at least three different craftsmen.   They are made of the most luxurious, flamboyant, and expensive fabrics and furs, and feature asymmetrical necklines, pouffed sleeves, and billowy skirts in a wide range of bright colors.  Fur-trimmed gowns, feather-lined coats, and jewel-encrusted dresses are among the many extraordinary confections that bear the SCAASI label. 
Scaasi has received numerous honors during his long and successful career. In addition to the Coty Fashion Critics Award (1958), they include the Neiman Marcus Award (1959), three Chicago Gold Coast Awards (early 1960s), The Council of Fashion Designer of America (CFDA) Award for creative excellence (1987), and its highest honor, The CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award (1997).  In addition, he received in the National Arts Club’s Gold Medal of Fashion (2006), and The New York Landmarks Conservancy made Scaasi a Living Landmark of New York City.
Major retrospectives have been presented at The New York Historical Society, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and the Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which staged First Ladies in Fashion: Featuring the Works of Arnold Scaasi.  His creations have also been included in numerous group exhibitions at The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, the Brooklyn Museum and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.  Scaasi has documented his unique experiences with famous women in his book, Women I Have Dressed (and Undressed!) (Scribner, New York, 2004).  He continues to design a costume jewelry collection, which is featured on the Home Shopping Network.

What is a Pop-up Museum Exhibit?
It has been recorded that the concept of the Pop-up Museum developed in the 1990s.  A pop-up museum can be defined as a short term exhibit existing in a temporary space. Pop-up museum exhibits are usually displayed in non-traditional spaces that are not museum facilities nor art galleries. Some exhibits designated as pop-ups have been mounted in places as varied as community centers or walk-in closets.  Simply, this type of exhibit “pops-up” for a brief period then it may move to another location. Hence, the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History's (MLFH) Pop-Up Museum Exhibit is a 48-hour display of Arnold Scaasi couture dresses displayed for a short-term in a non-museum space. The Scaasi display has been mounted in the Recreation Center at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, Florida.  The Recreation Center also serves as the student laundry room which was transformed into a temporary museum gallery with the use of black and red fabric draping and a real red carpet.  The color red is Scaasi's trademark design.
Arnold Scaasi pop-up exhibit by the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History hosted at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, Florida

Arnold Scaasi pop-up exhibit by the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History hosted at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, Florida
Arnold Scaais passed away on August 4, 2015.  CNN reports:
August 4, 2015
Fashion Designer Arnold Scaasi is dead at 85
New York (CNN)Arnold Scaasi, the Canadian-born designer whose custom gowns graced celebrities such as Barbra Streisand and Elizabeth Taylor as well as a number of American first ladies, has died, according to friends and associates. He was 85.
Scaasi was surrounded by family and friends when he died from cardiac arrest early Tuesday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, according to his close friend Michael Selleck.
His prolific designs were celebrated in a 2011 exhibition at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts entitled, "Scaasi: American Couturier."
The exhibit grew out of the museum's acquisition of his archive and more than 100 custom designs for some of the 20th century's "most celebrated artists and most fashionable socialites, including Broadway, TV, and movie stars, such as Arlene Francis, Mitzi Gaynor, Barbra Streisand, Diahann Carroll, Mary Tyler Moore, and Elizabeth Taylor; Palm Beach and New York socialites including Mary Sanford, Ivana Trump, Joetta Norban, Gayfryd Steinberg, and Edna Morris; and first ladies Mamie Eisenhower and Barbara and Laura Bush," according to the museum.
One of his most talked about designs was a black sequined pantsuit Barbra Streisand wore to collect her 1969 Academy Award for Funny Girl.
His work was also featured at the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History in Florida.
"The Arnold Scaasi designs definitely made a statement with high quality fabric and bold colors, and some of them incorporated geometric shape and ornamentation," the museum's executive director and chief curator, Lori Durante, said. "He had memorable personality ... a lot of spirit in his personality."
When Scaasi went into business in New York in the mid-1950s, he was one of few designers concentrating on custom-made clothing rather than ready-to-wear, according to the Boston museum. He launched his first ready-to-wear line in 1956.
Before Scaasi was 30, he had won the Coty American Fashion Critics Award for best designer of the year, and his designs graced the covers of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, according to the Boston Museum.
Scaasi has said that he preferred working directly with custom clientele on "luxurious and dramatic garments that suited their lifestyles," according to the museum.
"Mr. Scaasi was a character. He was a wonderful man and designer -- certain days I wanted to strangle him," said Glendina West, who said she worked for the designer for 40 years -- starting out housekeeper and eventually becoming his confidant. "He was temperamental, strong willed and always had to get the last say. And he was a wonderful boss."
The designer was married to his longtime partner, Parker Ladd, a former publishing executive who is 86, according to friends.
Scaasi published several books including a 2004 memoir titled "Women I Have Dressed (And Undressed)."
Born in Montreal as Arnold Martin Isaacs, Scaasi later changed his name.
West said a private funeral service is being planned for later this week, and a memorial service after Labor Day.

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