Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme

Patricia Mears, Lacey Flint, Sarah Pickman, Jonathan Faiers, Elizabeth Way, Ariele Elia

The first major study to explore the relationship between clothing made for survival in the most inhospitable environments on earth and beyond, and the high fashion it has inspired

Today— from haute couture to ready- to- wear— parkas, puffer coats, and backpacks, as well as garments made of neoprene and Mylar are everywhere. But the roots of these ubiquitous items of dress and cutting- edge textiles are rarely acknowledged or understood. Inspired by the so-called “heroic era” of polar navigation (1890– 1922), extreme mountain climbing, deep sea exploration, and journeys to outer space, Expedition explores how garments made for the most inhospitable environments on earth and beyond have inspired more than sixty years of fantastical, otherworldly fashions.

Lavishly illustrated, this publication features approximately 150 color photographs. The images include high fashion magazine editorials by Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, and others; museum objects from the permanent collections of The Museum at FIT and the American Museum of Natural History; and unpublished photographs of early expeditions in the archives of the Explorer’s Club in New York.


Patricia Mears


Patricia Mears is Deputy Director of The Museum at FIT.

Lacey Flint


Lacey Flint is a Curator at the Explorers Club, New York.

Sarah Pickman


Sarah Pickman is a doctoral candidate at Yale University.

Jonathan Faiers


Jonathan Faiers is a fashion scholar and writer.

Elizabeth Way


Elizabeth Way is an Assistant Curator at The Museum at FIT.

Ariele Elia


Ariele Elia is an Assistant Curator at The Museum at FIT.