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Earlier this year, Phoenix Art Museum announced that its fashion design department had acquired the entire, intact archive of visionary U.S. retailers James and Karin Legato. Selected works from more than 400 pieces of clothing and accessories by Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Thierry Mugler, John Galliano, Romeo Gigli, Christian Lacroix, Alaïa, Claude Montana and Jean Paul Gaultier, among others, will be exhibited for the first time in the Steele Gallery from November 6, 2016 to January 16, 2017.
The story of Emphatics began in 1963 when James Legato founded an upscale hair salon in Pittsburgh. Six years later, he expanded into designer women’s wear to service his clients with head-to-toe looks. With wife and business partner Karin on board, the couple’s chic oasis in the Steel City relocated to One Oxford Centre downtown in the early Eighties. The white plaster and Italian marble setting crowned with a 15-foot, vaulted dome ceiling resembled a theater of fashion. The exhibit, Emphatics: Avant-Garde Fashion 1963-2013, picks up at this point to celebrate their long-term, joint commitment to runway style and ends with the store’s closure in 2013.