A host of glamourous silhouettes and luxurious fabrics from noted designer Barbara Tfank are on view for just a short while at the Tang Teaching Museum in Saratoga Springs.
Tfank, a Skidmore alumna, launched her fashion label in 2001, focusing on brocade cocktail coats and dresses with classic shapes. Her designs have been worn by Michelle Obama, Uma Thurman, Kate Winslet and Adele, among others and her collections are featured twice yearly at New York Fashion Week and are often featured in vogue.com.
The 1972 graduate studied education at Skidmore and received her master’s degree from Stanford University. She worked as a fashion design assistant for Sal Cesarani in New York City and later as a stylist featured in Vanity Fair before becoming a successful costume designer for feature films.
“I’m thrilled to return to Skidmore College for this lecture and exhibit,” said Tfank. “The insights and validation of my interests that I received as a student have proven invaluable. The nurturing and creative environment here helped facilitate my own curiosity and set me on a successful path to becoming the designer I am today.”
While the exhibit’s layout is a bit sterile, the design work in the dresses speaks for itself. There are 20 original designs in the show and each piece is cut individually and hand-sewn and displayed on dress forms.
One stand-out is a floral a-line dress with pleats spilling out from the waistline. The intense vibrancy of the pink, orange and green flowers draws the eye. Not too far away is a floor-length bubble gum pink high-waist gown, with dramatic panels flowing down from the shoulders.
Several bridal looks are also featured in the show, including a “Something Blue” satin and silk gown, with a dramatic blue half bow situated in the back, the ribbons creating a train behind it.
Beyond the dresses, there are also sketches, photographs, a video and a Kate Spade Barbie featuring a miniature version of a jacquard coat designed by Tfank.
The exhibit, which is called “Barbara Tfank: Fabrics Inspire,” was organized by the Tang, and Guy Mastrion, F. William Harder Chair in Business Administration, in collaboration with Tfank. It will be up through Sunday. For more information visit tang.skidmore.edu.
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