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.