Museum Exhibits for Every Clothes Horse II.

Once again, I was starting to get curious about new and exciting museum exhibits. Upon completing a little research, I discovered that there are a host of shows around the country that look super promising!

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Last time, I found a nifty exhibit at the Bata Shoe Museum that some of my friends and I were lucky enough to visit, and we’re already scheduling a trip for the summer of 2016 to visit another exhibit at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

Flapper Style: Fashions of the 1920s

While an article like Character Makeover Foxtrots into the Twenties might be a clue, it’s really no mystery that one of my favorite decades–historically and stylistically–was the 1920s. Kent State currently has an exhibit showcasing some of the dazzling styles from the flapper era!

Beaded dress, circa 1927. Kent State Gallery of Costume.
Beaded dress, circa 1927. Kent State Gallery of Costume.

What: A selection of fashion from the 1920s.

Where: Kent State University’s Broadbent Gallery, Kent, Ohio.

When: Through September 4th, 2016

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion

With an exquisite offering of sculptural outfits, The High Museum of Art’s Iris van Herpen show looks like it’s going to be a combination of high art and fashion. Leather, metal, found objects and 3D printing are all used in a variety of applications in these modern ensembles by the Dutch fashion designer. Of her own work, van Herpen says:
“I try to make clear that fashion is an artistic expression, showing and wearing art, and not just a functional and devoid of content or commercial tool.”

Refinery Smoke, Dress, July 2008. 'In all my work I try to make clear that fashion is an artistic expression, showing and wearing art, and not just a functional and devoid of content or commercial tool.'
Refinery Smoke, Dress, July 2008.

What: 45 outfits from avant garde couture designer Iris van Herpen’s various collections.

Where: High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia.

When: Through May 15, 2016.

Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style

Many people aspire to become a fashion icon, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute de Ribes exhibit showcases a woman who certainly fits the bill. This type of exhibit won’t be for everyone, since it’s basically a genetically-blessed, well-off white aristocrat who’s been on Best Dressed lists for years. BUT it will provide a window into fashion’s past, so that’s great for research. Plus you’ll already be at the Met, which is never a wasted trip!

Jacqueline de Ribes, 1961. Photograph attributed to Raymundo de Larrain
Jacqueline de Ribes, 1961. Photograph attributed to Raymundo de Larrain.

What: Numerous ensembles of the philanthropist, fashion designer and icon, ranging from 1959 to the present.

Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. New York City, New York.

When: November 19, 2015–February 21, 2016.

Native Fashion Now

An interesting exhibit, to say the least. I was initially SUPER excited to see that indigenous peoples were going to feature in a public, curated fashion showcase, especially in the wake of articles like this well-circulated article with an interview from B. Yellowtail. Well, that’s not exactly what it’s going to be, since the exhibit will also have pieces that are by other, specifically non-native designers: “Also examined is how non-Native designers adopt and translate traditional Native American design motifs in their own work.”(This I read as a polite way of phrasing ‘appropriation’, although it’s difficult to say what is what with the images provided on the website– nothing is captioned outright, it seems).

Jamie Okuma (Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock). Boots, 2013–14. Glass beads on boots designed by Christian Louboutin. Museum commission with support from Katrina Carye, John Curuby, Dan Elias and Karen Keane, Cynthia Gardner, Merry Glosband, and Steve and Ellen Hoffman, 2014.44.1AB. © 2015 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Walter Silver.
Jamie Okuma (Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock). Boots, 2013–14, for Christian Louboutin.

What: A collection of fashions both by Native artists/designers, and some couture inspired by them.

Where: The Peabody Essex Museum’s Special Exhibition Galleries, in Salem Massachusetts.

When: November 21, 2015 to March 6, 2016.

Fairy Tale Fashion

Two of my favorite things: Fairy tales AND fashion?! Yes, please! This exhibition from FIT offers the visual language of fairy tales via the art of couture fashion, and it looks like it will be amazing and inspiring. It also overlaps with the Jacqueline de Ribes exhibit at the Met for a little while, so you might as well take advantage of both exhibits if you’re in the Big Apple!

Manish Arora, dress, 2010 (remade 2015), France. The Museum at FIT (illustrating Alice in Wonderland).
Manish Arora,  2010 (remade 2015). The Museum at FIT.

What: High fashion inspired by the likes of classic writers Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen.

Where: Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City, New York.

When:  January 15- April 16, 2016.


This list really only scratches the surface of the many amazing and engaging exhibits in North America that  are available for your viewing pleasure. Do you plan on visiting, or have you already visited, any of these costume and fashion offerings? Is there a great exhibit you’d like to share with us? Go ahead and leave a comment below!

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