Susan Tabak Interviews Valerie Steele
I first met Valerie Steele several years ago, when she spoke at a fashion conference I was attending. As the director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT, her presentation was thorough and informative but also very entertaining. She really wowed the crowd.
I would see Valerie at various events in Paris and New York and I became more familiar with her work. She’s written over ten books, organized a number of major exhibitions, and founded the Couture Council —a membership group of fashion enthusiasts that supports exhibitions and programs at the Museum.
Every year, the Couture Council presents an award for Artistry of Fashion to a selected designer. I attended the award luncheon for Alber Elbaz of Lanvin two years ago, and it was wonderful — great crowd (including Demi Moore, Iman, Linda Evangelista, Chloe Sevigny, and Simon Doonan) and a really touching moment in the designer’s career. I’m excited to attend this year’s luncheon honoring Dries van Noten on September 9th, and I thought it’d be a great time to check in with Valerie and interview her about all of the things she’s got going on.
We met at her office and discussed her entrance to fashion, her work at The Museum at FIT and the Couture Council luncheon on September 9th. Then we toured the Special Exhibition Gallery within the museum, where two must-see shows are running right now. Fashion & Politics is an exploration of more than 200 years of politics as expressed through fashion, and then, of course, there is the Isabel Toledo exhibit. I mentioned Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out a few months ago, and I have to say it again: this exhibition is incredible.
Click above to watch my interview with Valerie and her guided tour through these two spectacular shows at the Museum at FIT.