Lace in Fashion
Feb
4
to Jan 1

Lace in Fashion

Lace has been a sign of style and elegance since the sixteenth century. From fine luxury garments worn by royals and the aristocracy to machine-made fashions for the everyday, our brand new exhibition for 2017 will reveal both the techniques and the top names that have made lace such an enduring fashion trend. Featuring 50 historic treasures and designer dresses, Lace in Fashion draws on the riches of the Fashion Museum collection to showcase the skill and seduction of this fashionable fabric.

Lace in Fashion is the culmination of a two year project to catalogue the Museum’s extensive archives of lace dating from the 1500s to the present day, supported by Arts Council England. Assisted by expert volunteers from the Lace Guild, we have been able to revaluate how lace is used in the Fashion Museum collection and uncover its journey from craft to catwalk.

The oldest object in the exhibition will be a smock dating from around 1580 with Flemish bobbin lace on the sleeves and collar, one of the earliest pieces in the Fashion Museum collection. Another of the Museum’s rarest treasures will also appear in the show: the Silver Tissue Dress which dates from the 1660s is trimmed with exquisite parchment lace, a rare and delicate fabric made using tiny strips of parchment or paper wrapped in silk.

Other highlights include a navy blue lace dress worn by actress Lea Seydoux in the James Bond film Spectre, which has been loaned to the Fashion Museum by Australian design duo Lover, as well as elegant evening gowns by top fashion names Balmain, Balenciaga and Molyneux.

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Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion
May
27
to Feb 18

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

From the V&A:

This exhibition examines the work and legacy of influential Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga, with over 100 pieces crafted by ‘the master’ of couture, his protégées and contemporary fashion designers working in the same innovative tradition.

Image credit, Cristóbal Balenciaga at work, 1968, Paris, France. Photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos.

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Force of Nature
May
30
to Nov 18

Force of Nature

From the Museum at FIT:

Force of Nature is a unique exhibition that explores how the beauty and complexity of nature have inspired fashion designers for centuries. More than a survey of decorative flora and fauna, this exhibition reveals the natural world as a source of ideas and symbolism in fashion design. Approximately 95 objects are presented in a manner that demonstrates the deep interconnectedness between fashion and the natural sciences. Spanning the 18th century to the present, Force of Nature features garments, accessories, and textiles from the permanent collection of The Museum at FIT.

Image Credit, Alexander McQueen, Plato’s Atlantis collection, Spring 2010, England, museum purchase.

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Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams
Jul
5
to Jan 7

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

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From the Musée des Arts Décoratifs:

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the creation of the House of Dior. This lavish and comprehensive exhibition invites visitors on a voyage of discovery through the universe of the House of Dior’s founder and the illustrious couturiers who succeeded him: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and, most recently, Maria Grazia Chiuri.

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The House of Dior: 70 years of Haute Couture
Aug
27
to Nov 7

The House of Dior: 70 years of Haute Couture

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From NGV:

In celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the House of Dior, one of the world’s most prestigious couture houses, the National Gallery of Victoria presents The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture.

Exclusive to Melbourne, this exhibition is a collaboration between the NGV and the House of Dior and includes a sumptuous display of more than 140 garments designed by Christian Dior Couture between 1947 and 2017.

The House of Dior explores the story of the fashion house through a series of themes, featuring works by the seven designers who have played key roles in shaping Dior’s renowned fashionable silhouette: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

The exhibition narrates the rich history of the fashion house, including Christian Dior’s early influences, the design codes synonymous with the House of Dior, insights into the Dior atelier workrooms, the role that accessories have played in expressing the complete Dior look and the milestones of its six successive designers following Christian Dior’s sudden death in 1957.

Highlights include examples from Christian Dior’s iconic spring 1947 New Look collection, magnificent displays of Dior’s signature ball gowns and evening dresses, as well as designs from the inaugural couture collection of the House’s first female head designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Dior’s unique and longstanding affinity with Australia is also examined, including the historic Spring1948 fashion parade at David Jones, Sydney, where models wore fifty original creations by Christian Dior. This was the first complete Dior collection to be shown outside of Paris.

Image credit, Christian Dior, Paris (fashion house), Raf Simons (designer), autumn−winter 2012 haute couture collection, Photo © Patrick Demarchelier/Licensed by Art+Commerce.

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Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme
Sep
15
to Jan 6

Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme

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From MFIT:

Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme is the first large-scale exhibition of high fashion influenced by clothing made for survival in the most inhospitable environments on the planet — and off of it. On view in Expedition are approximately 70 ensembles and accessories from MFIT’s permanent collection, as well as a compelling selection of objects borrowed from leading museums and private collections. These garments are presented within dramatically designed “environments” in the museum’s Special Exhibitions Gallery. Collectively, the objects and the exhibition design evoke both the beauty of extreme wildernesses — on land and sea, as well as in outer space — and the dangers these locales present to human explorers.

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Worn: Footwear, attachment and affective experience
Sep
29
to Jan 27

Worn: Footwear, attachment and affective experience

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This exhibition explores our relationship with and attachment to shoes. Focusing upon the shoe as an everyday object, it explores the ways that the worn shoe may act upon us, examining how garments and people may become entwined. It suggests that our particular attachment to footwear is located in our intimate and tactile relationship to it; that attachment is created through touch and wear. Through use and wear shoes become, both a record of the wearer’s lived experience, and also an extended part of themselves - a distributed aspect of the self.

The manifestations of this attachment are apparent in the ways that a garment wears: the creases, folds and scuffs, which are the inevitable outcomes of use.  Gesture is preserved within the garment – even when our bodies are gone traces of motion remain. These marks form a web, a map of experience. The worn garment is a repository of experience, a container of trace.

Through an iterative process of making, wearing, and recording, these works make apparent the intimacies of our relationship with shoes.  Rather than record the narratives which we apply to footwear, they highlight the material traces of the relationships embodied within the artefacts themselves. The shoes here are not footwear in a conventional sense but are, instead, objects designed to amplify and make explicit their role as records of gesture and experience.  These empty shoes are records of an absent performances, of gestures which are lost to the viewer so that only their traces, the marks upon the shoe, remain.

Ellen Sampson is an artist, writer and curator. Using film, photography and installation, her work explores the relationships between bodily experience, memory and artefacts.  She addresses the  ways that material objects can become records of lived experience and how these traces of these experiences can be read or understood by the viewer. Exploring the resonance of worn and used artefacts, she seeks to uncover how attachment is produced and maintained - the way that an object which is worn or held close to the body can become incorporated into the self. 

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Items: Is Fashion Modern?
Oct
1
to Jan 28

Items: Is Fashion Modern?

From MoMA:

Items: Is Fashion Modern? explores the present, past—and sometimes the future—of 111 items of clothing and accessories that have had a strong impact on the world in the 20th and 21st centuries—and continue to hold currency today. Among them are pieces as well-known and transformative as the Levi’s 501s, the Breton shirt, and the Little Black Dress, and as ancient and culturally charged as the sari, the pearl necklace, the kippah, and the keffiyeh. Items will also invite some designers, engineers, and manufacturers to respond to some of these indispensable items with pioneering materials, approaches, and techniques—extending this conversation into the near and distant futures, and connecting the history of these garments with their present recombination and use. Driven first and foremost by objects, not designers, the exhibition considers the many relationships between fashion and functionality, culture, aesthetics, politics, labor, identity, economy, and technology.

 

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Fortuny, A Spaniard in Venice
Oct
4
to Jan 7

Fortuny, A Spaniard in Venice

From the Paris Galliera: 

Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (1871-1949) was the son of the Spanish painter Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (1831-1874) and, like his father, he started out as a painter. He moved to Venice in 1889 and his name has always been associated with that city. His highly eclectic tastes encompassed engraving, photography, furniture and lighting design, as well as stage design and stage lighting. In 1906, he turned his attentions to fabrics, with his “Knossos scarf” made of silk, printed with motifs inspired by Kamares pottery from the Minoan period. His dress designs liberated the female form. He reinterpreted the styles and motifs of Ancient Greece, the Middle-Ages and the Renaissance, and he created timeless, unwaisted pieces with soft, straight-hanging lines.

Fortuny would turn every fabric into a uniquely magnificent piece with subtle reflections of light. In the gowns worn by such legendary women as Countess Greffulhe and her daughter Élaine, Eleonora Duse, Ellen Terry, and Oona Chaplin, visitors can admire his carefully researched prints made from metallic powders on silk velvet, with their Byzantine, Japanese and Persian influences. The Mariano Fortuny exhibition is an invitation into the soft, shimmering world of a prolifically inventive designer who was a zealous advocate for liberating the female form, and a believer in the ultimate luxury: comfort. A total immersion in timeless elegance.

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Louise Dahl-Wolfe: A Style of Her Own
Oct
20
to Jan 21

Louise Dahl-Wolfe: A Style of Her Own

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From the Fashion & Textile Museum:

Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1895–1989) is one of the most important women photographers of the 20th century. Her work in the thirties, forties and fifties brought an informal and contemporary approach to fashion that had enormous influence on Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and the other great photographers who followed. A uniquely American artist, this is the first major survey of her work in the UK and is timed to coincide with a resurgence of interest in female photographers. The exhibition features over 100 photographs spanning three decades, from 1931 to 1959, and presents the work of couture designers Chanel, Balenciaga and Dior, as well as American fashion innovators Claire McCardell and Clare Potter. 

The exhibition will also present a significant body of portraiture by Dahl-Wolfe. These portraits capture literary figures such as W.H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Jean Cocteau, Edith Sitwell, Colette and Carson McCullers. She also documented fashion designers; and a major portfolio of Hollywood stars from Bette Davis, Orson Welles and Vivien Leigh in the 1930s to James Cagney and Veronica Lake in the 1940s.

A key focus of the exhibition is Dahl-Wolfe’s 22 years as the leading contributor to Harper’s Bazaar, from 1936 to 1958, working with editor Carmel Snow, legendary fashion director Diana Vreeland and the designer Alexey Brodovitch. ‘From the moment I saw her first colour photographs, I knew Bazaar was at last going to look the way I had instinctively wanted,’ declared editor Carmel Snow. 

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Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip
Nov
22
to Mar 17

Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip

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From the Museum of the City of New York:

The world of fashion was turned on its head in the 1960s, as its traditions were challenged, rejected, and reimagined for the restless next generation. Beginning with the introduction of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy as a new American style icon and evolving over the course of the decade, fashions of the 1960s were legendary for their energy, their ingenuity, and their enduring appeal. Their influence was far-reaching—many of the era’s defining styles have been invoked by new generations of designers. Yet the scope of the decade’s trends far exceeds its iconic miniskirt, color-block dress, or bohemian spirit. Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip explores the full arc of 1960s fashion, shedding new light on a period marked by tremendous and daring stylistic diversity.

Featuring more than 70 garments drawn primarily from the Museum’s Costume Collection, the exhibition traces the dramatic transformation in clothing between 1960 and 1973, not only in length and silhouette, but also in materials and methods of textile manufacture. Works by designers as diverse as Mary Quant, Geoffrey Beene, and Pauline Trigère illuminate the communicative powers of fashion in the ’60s—reflecting cultural trends from Beatlemania to Pop and Op Art to infatuation with the “space race,” and social changes like the women’s liberation movement and the radicalism of the counterculture and antiwar movements. Also on display are fine and costume jewelry, shoes, handbags, design renderings, and photographs that capture the spirit of a creative and confrontational era.

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The Body: Fashion & Physique
Dec
5
to May 5

The Body: Fashion & Physique

From MFIT:

Fashion is inextricably linked to the physical form of the wearer. The cut of a garment draws the eye to zones of the body, simultaneously accentuating and concealing in order to achieve a desired silhouette. Elaborate undergarments, diet regimens, exercise routines, and even plastic surgery have all been promoted as necessary tools for attaining the ideal fashion shape. However, the idealized fashionable body is a cultural construct. Over the last 250 years, full hips, narrow hips, feminine waists, and boyish frames have each, at different times, been hailed as the pinnacle of beauty. According to a Vogue article from 1950, “A ‘figure’…is considered good or bad only as related to clothing generally, and current fashions specifically.” The Body: Fashion and Physique will explore the complex history of the “perfect” body in fashion.

This exhibition will also examine the broader relationship between the fashion industry and body politics from the nineteenth century to the present. 50 objects from the collection of The Museum at FIT will be on view, alongside clippings, photographs, and videos from the popular press. The Body: Fashion and Physique will elucidate the impact the fashion industry has had on how people have viewed and treated their bodies throughout history. It will also consider how fashion has contributed to the marginalization of certain body types within our culture.

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Fashion Unraveled
May
29
to Nov 17

Fashion Unraveled

From MFIT:

Fashion Unraveled will examine the concepts of imperfection and incompletion in fashion. Garments that are altered, unfinished, or deconstructed, in addition to clothing that shows signs of wear, will highlight the aberrant beauty in flawed objects. Unless such imperfections are intentional—as they are in the case of deconstructed fashion—these garments are often overlooked in museum collections. This exhibition will include a selection of objects from the museum’s permanent collection, highlighting objects that are not only visually compelling, but that may also tell intriguing stories about their makers and/or wearers.

It is only in recent years that imperfect or inauthentic objects have been given greater consideration, as interest in their “biographies” has grown. Signs of repeated wear, shortened hemlines, and careful mends can be found even on haute couture garments, and they highlight the lasting economic and emotional worth of many clothes within museum collections. These findings – which are often unseen and unknown by museum visitors – challenge the concept of fashion as a strictly ephemeral, disposable commodity. Fashion Unraveled will also reveal how the appearance of aged clothing, with its flaws and signs of decay, has been embraced by many designers as an aesthetic choice, furthering the reconstruction of notions about beauty and value in fashion.

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Frida Kahlo's Wardrobe
Jun
16
to Nov 18

Frida Kahlo's Wardrobe

From the V&A:

This exhibition will present an extraordinary collection of personal artefacts and clothing belonging to the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Locked away for 50 years after her death, this collection has never before been exhibited outside Mexico.

Exploring the development of Kahlo's style as an amalgam of traditional Mexican garments, this exhibition will present her fashions from Europe and beyond, and demonstrate how her wardrobe was expressive of the complex relationship between her Mexican and Western heritage

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Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color
Sep
7
to Jan 5

Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color

From MFIT:

Pink is popularly associated with little girls, ballerinas, Barbie dolls, and all things feminine. Yet the symbolism and significance of pink have varied greatly across time and space. The stereotype of pink-for-girls versus blue-for-boys may be ubiquitous today, but it only gained traction in the mid-twentieth century. In the eighteenth century, when Madame de Pompadour helped make pink fashionable at the French court, it was perfectly appropriate for a man to wear a pink suit, just as a woman might wear a pink dress. In cultures such as India, men never stopped wearing pink.

Yet anyone studying pink comes up against “the color’s inherent ambivalence.” One of “the most divisive of colors,” pink provokes strong feelings of both “attraction and repulsion.”  “Please sisters, back away from the pink,” wrote one journalist, responding to the pink pussy hats worn at the Women’s March. Some people think pink is pretty, sweet, and romantic, while others associate it with childish frivolity or flamboyant vulgarity. In recent years, however, pink increasingly has been interpreted as cool, androgynous, and political. “Why would anyone pick blue over pink?” mused the rapper Kanye West. “Pink is obviously a better color.” In the words of i-D magazine, pink is “punk, pretty, and powerful.”

Curated by Dr. Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT, Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color will explore the changing significance of the color pink over the past three centuries. 

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Sonia Delaunay. Art, design and fashion
Jul
4
to Oct 15

Sonia Delaunay. Art, design and fashion

From the Museo Thyssen:

The Ukrainian artist Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979) was a key figure in the Parisian avant-garde. Together with her husband, the painter Robert Delaunay, she undertook an artistic adventure based on contrasts of colour and the dissolving of form through light that led towards abstraction.

Sonia Delaunay. Art, design and fashion is the first monographic exhibition on the artist in Spain and aims to reveal the full extent of her multi-disciplinary artistic practice. Paintings and designs for clothes and textiles will be shown alongside her innovative collaborations with poets and set designers. The exhibition will also pay particular attention to the period when the artist and her family lived in Madrid, arriving there exactly 100 years ago.

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Spanish Costumes: Darkness and Light
Jun
21
to Sep 24

Spanish Costumes: Darkness and Light

From Paris Galliera: 

This exhibition is part of the Palais Galliera’s Spanish Season. It opened with “Balenciaga, oeuvre au noir” (‘Balenciaga, working in black’) at the Musée Bourdelle (8 March–16 July 2017) and will close with the first Paris retrospective of work by Mariano Fortuny, at the Palais Galliera (4 October–7 January 2018).

Of all French writers, Victor Hugo was probably one of the greatest lovers of Spain. From June to September this year, his former house, the Maison de Victor Hugo, will be hosting a remarkable selection of traditional Spanish costumes borrowed from the collections of the Museo del Traje, the Museum of Costume and Ethnological Heritage in Madrid. For the first time in Paris, we will be able to admire the skills and ingenuity of the craftsmen and craftswomen who, between the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 20th century, made the forty or more costumes and accessories on display. These pieces used to be catalogued simply as examples of folk costumes, but the delicacy of the work and their extraordinary variety, have inspired the greatest Spanish couturiers, including Balenciaga.

These are clothes that reflect regional life, they express the soul of the Spanish provinces: the Canary Islands, Andalusia, Catalonia, Mallorca, Aragon, Castile, Salamanca ... They are emblematic of a trade, of a social or cultural group, a specific place, or the religious beliefs of their original wearers, but their sheer creativity strikes us today with unprecedented force.
The collection is juxtaposed with a large selection of photographs by José Ortiz Echagüe (1886-1980) – an engineer by training, whose great passion was photography. From Spanish Morocco, to the provinces of his native country, his sharp but benevolent eye captured the full beauty of the landscape, the monuments, the local inhabitants and their rituals.

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The World of Anna Sui
May
26
to Oct 1

The World of Anna Sui

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From the Fashion & Textile Museum:

Anna Sui is the classic American fashion designer. From Detroit to New York, her signature rock-n-roll romanticism reinvents pop culture for every new generation. Since her first catwalk show in 1991, Sui has shaped not only the garments, textiles, accessories, beauty and interiors which comprise her design universe, but also the course of fashion history. The World of Anna Sui features over 100 looks from the designer’s archive, presenting a roll call of archetypes from Surfers and School Girls to Hippies, Mods and Punks. This is the first time an American designer has been the focus of a retrospective exhibition in the UK.

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