From Vogue 100: A Century of Style
For years, museums didn’t pay enough attention to fashion as a cultural expression. It would fall on the shoulders of historians to embrace that responsibility, and follow the evolution of fashion—and its real anthropological significance—when considering dressing and accessorizing as reflections of tastes, customs, lifestyles, economic conditions, aesthetic trends, and ethical values within a particular context and period.
Over time, the rescue work of social researchers paid off, and today we can often visit priceless exhibits dedicated to the subject in internationally renowned institutions. This year’s exhibition calendar promises to be quite surprising with an impressive selection of shows devoted to fashion. A quick glance will allow you to choose your favorite fashion-themed exhibit.
Fairy Tales at The Museum at FIT
One of the most fascinating exhibitions is currently on view and will run until April 16. Fairy Tale Fashion organized by The Museum at FIT, illustrates the way children’s literature— particularly fairy tales— has inspired the oeuvre of leading fashion labels such as Dolce & Gabbana, Thierry Mugler, Comme des Garçons, Alexander McQueen, Prada, and Rodarte, among others.
The month of February brought two exhibits of great interest —both in the United States. One is Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion 1945 to 1968, which will be presented at the NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale until June 5. Visitors will revel in the magnificence of Italian design through the work of Emilio Schuberth, Germana Marucelli, Valentino, Roberto Capucci, Fendi, Renato Balestra, Irene Galitzine, and Emilio Pucci.
Pieces from Fashion Forward: Three Centuries of Fashion at Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris.
The second exhibit—Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times—at the Driehaus Museum in Chicago, is part of the traveling selection of pieces from the popular British television series Downton Abbey.
Also, from February until May 22, one of the most important exhibitions of the year will be presented. Vogue 100: A Century of Style takes over the National Portrait Gallery in London. The landmark exhibition features over 300 photographs that chronicle the legendary magazine’s comprehensive legacy, which has elucidated the evolution of fashion through its pages.
The Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris will celebrate its 13th anniversary with Fashion Forward, Three Centuries of Fashion (1715-2015), a display of 300 historical pieces, curated by choreographer Christopher Wheeldon with a setting by Jérôme Kaplan. The show features the creative work of fashion luminaries Elsa Schiaparelli, Madeleine Vionnet and Cristobal Balenciaga. The show is on view from April 7 until mid-August, 2016.
This year will also bring noteworthy retrospectives. Oscar de la Renta, Issey Miyake, and Judy Blame will be honored in 2016.
Oscar de la Renta design
André Leon Talley will be the curator of Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective at the San Francisco Fine Arts Museum, where—from March 12 until May 30—more than 130 pieces produced by the great Dominican designer over five decades.
In Tokyo— from March 16 to June 13—The National Art Center will present a retrospective of the work of Issey Miyake. And the Contemporary Art Institute of London will exhibit— from June 29 to September 11— the works of the stylist and designer Judy Blame, known for her punk aesthetic.
Manus X Machina at the MET is one of the most anticipated exhibitions of the year.
However, one of the most anticipated exhibitions is undoubtedly Manus x Machina at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from May 5 to August 14. The show introduces a complete overview of more than 200 years of fashion history and exploring the impact of new technologies on fashion’s long-held handcrafted traditions. The spectacular show will include cutting edge technology available for the manufacture of garments.
Gianni Versace used to say, “Our work should make people dream.” A look at the 2016 roster of exhibitions would indeed make people dream.■