Max Meyer and A. Beller & Co.: Interpreting a Hidden History of NYC's Garment District takes an in-depth look at the work of the fashion industry leader and one of FIT’s founders and its first president. Meyer (1876–1953) was a principal of Abraham Beller & Company, a New York City–based women’s cloak and suit manufacturer, in business from 1890 to 1931. Through licensing agreements with Paris couture houses, Beller & Co. recreated their designs for an American clientele. This exhibition showcases the close ties of the fashion industry to FIT through the lens of donations from various industry players who helped in great measure and over decades to build FIT's Gladys Marcus Library’s Special Collections and College Archives.
Meyer generously donated the nearly 9,000 fashion sketches of the Beller company to the library in the 1950s. The illustrations are sublime watercolor and ink depictions of Paris couture created circa 1914–29 from many of the well-known fashion design houses such as Chanel, Poiret, Molyneux, Lanvin, Worth, Paquin, and many more.
The exhibition consists of more than 200 sketches, curated by Special Collections’ staff. Also on view are 14 historical/period garments from the School of Graduate Studies’ Fashion and Textile Studies garment study collection. These pieces, curated and conserved by graduate students under the supervision of Professor Denyse Montegut, are paired with Beller sketches that mirror the spirit of the garments’ styles and history.