Fashion, Costume and Historical Garb: Museum Exhibits for Every Clotheshorse III!

Museums are magical places of discovery, so I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting exhibits, especially when they pertain to costumes and fashion.

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I’ve come across some really great garment and design-based shows across the country in past clotheshorse articles. If you feel the same passion for fashion, take a gander at these current and upcoming shows!

CUT! Costume and the Cinema

A selection of costumes on display at the Cut! exhibit.
A selection of costumes on display at the Cut! exhibit.

What: This touring exhibit features 43 greatly varied costumes by designers like Penny Rose (Pirates of the Caribbean), John Bright (The White Countess) and Jenny Beavan (The Sherlock Holmes films). Additionally, the show also touches upon what it means to don a costume, and how it is another tool for actors to use in the process of portraying their characters.

WhereHeritage Museum and Gardens, Sandwich, MA

When: Through October 2016.

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage

An array of Vlisco's amazing textiles.
An array of Vlisco’s amazing textiles.

What: Offered in conjunction with Creative Africa (which runs through September 25th, 2016), Vlisco offered a look at the history of beautiful and iconic textiles that represent both fashion and the long-standing tradition of West- and Central Africa’s wax-printed fabrics.

Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

When: Through January 22, 2017.

Black Fashion Designers

Anne Lowe, Ebony magazine, 1966.
Anne Lowe, Ebony magazine, 1966.

What: Utilizing FIT’s permanent collection, Black Fashion Designs focuses on the 1950s to the present. Intending to, “…enliven the conversation about historic and ongoing issues of diversity within the fashion industry,” the show will shine a spotlight on a variety of designers, like  Anne Lowe, Tracy Reese and Maki Oh.

Where: The Museum at FIT, New York City, NY

When: December 2016 – May 2017.

Items: Is Fashion Modern?

Joan Bennet, ca 1928 in the indispensable 'little black dress'.
Joan Bennet, ca 1928, in the indispensable ‘little black dress’.

What: This looks like it will be a truly fascinating exhibit. According to the website, the show is driven first and foremost by objects, not designers, the exhibition considers the many relationships between fashion and functionality, cultural etiquettes, aesthetics, politics, labor, identities, economies, and technology.” It’s honestly quite easy to get caught-up in the pomp and flash of costume and fashion, and to overlook the garments we wear every day.

Where: Museum of Modern Art, New York City, New York

When: December 10, 2017–April 1, 2018

Dressing Downton

The exhibit during its time at the Biltmore Estate, N.C.
The exhibit during its time at the Biltmore Estate, N.C.

What: If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey and its ornate costume design, the touring exhibition Dressing Downton might just be coming to a town near you! The television show itself spans an intriguing and quickly-changing time in fashion history (1912-1925), and the exhibit has both complete costumes and jewelry featured in the hit series.

Where: Various locations. Check this timeline for locations and dates.

When: Through January 2018. (See above)


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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