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Friday, November 8, 2013

FAB Exclusive: Robert Verdi Talks Queer Style at FIT

queer history fashion
queer fashion fit
Robert Verdi is one of the most dynamic fashion ambassadors on television today.  He contributed two major looks at the current exhibit at the Museum at F.I.T., A Queer History of Fashion.

Not just a charming personality, he received his fashion education at F.I.T. and has had a diverse career in design (jewelry, weddings, interiors, clothing...).  I know that Robert Verdi's wit has been extremely welcome.  He can make a dreaded corporate meeting bearable with his sense of humor.   Just when you think you are "over" fashion week, you might be lucky enough to run into him in front of a show and his one-liners will make it worthwhile.

The exhibit at F.I.T. itself examines style and fashion as influenced by the LGBT community throughout history.  Whether it was the aesthetic of a well tailored suit on both men and women, fetish lifestyles on edgy leather clothing or the motifs inspired by political statements.

Robert Verdi was nice enough to chat with us here at Ms. Fabulous to tell us about his work on this show:

Ms. Fabulous: Can you tell us about the contributions you made to the FIT exhibit and why you chose them?
Robert Verdi: Valerie Steele, the curator at FIT, came to my home where we culled through hundreds of pieces I have been collecting for over 20 years.
Together we decided on a few pieces that capture the unique confidence and sex appeal of "Queer Style," like the Tom Ford tie died velvet suit from the 90's.

Ms. F: Is there a certain time period in history that you identify with the most in fashion?
RV: Growing up, I was enamored of glamorous women in the 1970s, but especially Charlie's Angels. The entire disco era, the night-life, the decadence, are all elements that I connect with."

Ms. F: How does your background and lifestyle inform your personal style?
RV: My personal style is informed by lots of different ideas. But every time i look in my closet, i see the overwhelming influence of Pee-wee Herman and Dracula.

Ms. F: Which fashion designer do you think made the most significant contributions to the identity of fashion?
RV: So many designers have made valuable contributions. To exclude one would diminish the value of fashion history. Suffice it to say every designer contributes something.
Personally, I love the contributions of Martin Margiela, Rei Kawakubo, Alexander McQueen Jean Paul Gaultier, Tom Brown, and the greatest impact in recent history, that of the brilliant Rick Owens.

Ms. F: What trends or direction do you think the LGBTQ design community will take in the next few years?
RV: I think that it’s not going to be any different from how it has been. The LGBT community will continue to passionately lead all the design industries, using the two things that we have always depended on, innovation and originality."

Ms. F: If you were to dress as any style icon or fashion figure in history for Halloween, who would it be?
RV: "Jesus"

Ms. F: You are awesome as always! Thank you.

The Queer History of Fashion exhibit runs until January 4, 2014 at the Museum of F.I.T.  Admission is free!  There is also a symposium this weekend with a fantastic line-up of speakers. You can find the symposium schedule online.

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