Drawing of the New Look silhouette Design Museum
Is fashion art? If so, what part of fashion? The sketches, the photographs, the textiles, the clothing itself? It’s a controversial question that still evokes powerful responses on both sides of the argument. It wasn’t always easy to find fashion exhibits – years ago, you’d have to go to the Smithsonian and be satisfied seeing historical clothing like inaugural gowns or cultural significant fashion like Dorothy’s ruby slippers. I remember making the trek to scattered museums whenever I traveled to see at least small efforts to preserve fashion as an art, usually way off the beaten path. I would find early Chanel and Schiaparelli dresses on old forgotten dress forms in forgotten museums. But thankfully, things have changed and fashion is being valued as an important part of our creative history. Now, there are exhibits around the world focusing on specific fashion eras, designers, styles, geographical regions, and even occupations. Here are a few exhibits to see in 2012/2013,
Design Museum Holon July 05 – October 20,2012. This exhibit celebrates the maestro of avant-garde fashion, Yohji Yamamoto, and his unique talent for challenging traditional norms of clothing.
The Ballet of the Paris Opera on June 16 to December 31, 2012 The National Center for costume scene and set design. An exhibition focusing on lavish costumes designed by Christian Lacroix , for the ballet La Source , given at the Opéra National de Paris in autumn 2011.
FIT September 14, 2012 to January 5, 2013. This exhibition celebrates clothing styles that originated on the prestigious college campuses of America in the late 1910s to the many reinterpretations seen in contemporary fashion, the “Ivy League Look” or “Ivy Style.”
The Balenciaga Museum presents the approach of the genius, the master’s technique May 26, 2012 – December 31, 2013. The exhibition explores the couturier’s life and work, from his early years to his final creations, experienced through the rigorous selection of 90 pieces.
Centraal Museum, Utrecht, the Netherlands – November 24, 2012 until March 10, 2013. This exhibition includes Levi’s for miners, Jurgen Bey’s window installation commissioned by Levi’s RED and Droog, as well as denim designs by Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Martin Margiela & Marithe, Francois Birbaud and Yves Saint Laurent.
Fashion & Technology
FIT Fashion & Textile History Gallery December 4, 2012 – May 8, 2013. The exhibition will feature objects exclusively from The Museum at FIT’s costume collection alongside a selection of textiles and accessories that highlight the multifaceted nature of technological developments.
V&A Museum in London – October 20, 2012 through January 27, 2013 The V&A’s autumn exhibition, ‘Hollywood Costume’, explores the central role costume design plays in cinema storytelling.
MOMU Antwerp, Belgium – December 9, 2012 through October 2, 2013. From September 12th, 2012 till February 10th, 2013 MoMu presents MADAME GRÈS. Sculptural Fashion, an overview of the work of the Parisian couturier, Madame Grès (1903– 1993).
Fashion from the Ellie Laubner Collection at the Allentown Art Museum Sun, 02/03/2013 – Sun, 04/14/2013. This 1920s retrospective exhibit includes exquisite evening gowns draped in beads, silky-soft lingerie, elegant embroidered shawls, and authentic bridal wear adorned with wax orange blossoms.
Modern Spirit; Fashion of the 1920s
Phoenix Art Museum - September 22, 2012 through February 10, 2013. A unique look at the modern spirit of the 1920s livable fashion, the evolution of clothing and accessories as an expression of freedom, intellectualism, sexuality and athleticism.
The Ebony Fashion Fair show exhibition
Chicago History Museum showcases an American story that explores the show’s legacy, vision and the creativity of Eunice W. Johnson, co-founder of Johnson Publishing Company. Mrs. Johnson had an eye for the undiscovered, amassing a collection of future fashion greats before they were world-renowned including Valentino Garavani, Roberto Cavalli, and Pierre Cardin. The show will include priceless garments collected over the fashion show’s 50-year history. This world-renown show redefined the concept of American beauty. It was the first to showcase the fashion and beauty sense of African American women. The exhibition will include works from the icons of fashion including Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Stephen Burrows, Yves Saint Laurent, Patrick Kelly, and Christian Lacroix among others. (image)
Seasonal Fashion: Autumn in Charleston
Charleston Museum, Charleston, SC - September 1 through Nov 25, 2012. An exhibition presenting a range of garments, accessories and ephemera from the 1850s to the 1960s with autumnal palette and themes.
A Life in Dance at The de Young in San Francisco - October 6, 2012 through February 17, 2013. This special exhibition is dedicated to the life and work of the legendary dancer and choreographer Rudolf Nureyev (1938–1993). It will showcase more than 80 costumes and 50 photographs from the dancer’s personal collection, entrusted to the Centre national du costume de scène by the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation, and will incorporate key loans from active ballet companies.
Star Power: Edward Steichen’s Glamour Photography
Taft Museum – October 12, 2012 through January 27, 2013. The works of Edward Steichen, chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair. The exhibit honors Steichen’s crisp, bold, modern style that revolutionized fashion photography during the 1920s and 1930s, and greatly influenced Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, and Bruce Weber.
Ronaldus Shamask: Form, Fashion, Reflection
Philadelphia Museum of Art - October 6, 2012 through March 10, 2013 (image *) This exhibition includes iconic Shamask clothing, as well as works made specifically for this presentation, including translucent paper renditions shown as mirror images of the garments to reveal form of construction.
Icons of Style
June 1, 2013 – May 1, 2014 Museum of Fine Arts in Boston - On Tour exhibition that celebrates the interconnected roles of fashion’s makers, the models who wear their designs, and the media that disseminate those looks to the world.
“Punk: Chaos to Couture”
Metropolitan Museum costume exhibit chronicles the punk movement from music (The Ramones, Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious) to fashion (Vivienne Westwood, Gianni Versace, and, of course, Alexander McQueen). May of 2013 (source).