“I always thought of clothes as a disposable art form. I never thought that clothes were as important as they have become,”
- Oscar de la Renta (The New York Times)
And indeed they are an art form. I've been overwhelmed recently with how many fashion exhibitions have hit the art world. "Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915" just finished its run at LACMA and the annual "Art of Motion Picture Costume Design" exhibition has been showcased at FIDM. While at Paris Fashion Week I visited the "Women in Orient" exhibition curated by Christian Lacroix and "Rodarte: States of Matter" debuted in L.A. And then...."Balenciaga and Spain" opened at the de Young in San Francisco, "Madame Grès: Couture at Work" in Paris and "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" is next up at the Met.
It seems my thoughts were right on track of a major trend. I was trawling through The New York Times Style section and lo and behold there was an article on the very subject. Indeed "Museums Are Finding Room for Couturiers". Apparently fashion is a popular topic and not just for fashionistas. While there is some debate whether all fashion exhibitions merit a gallery exhibition, the world seems fascinated by the art form.
According to the NY times article:
"Harold Koda, the curator in charge of the Met Costume Institute, believes that there has been what he called “a generational shift,” adding: “Until about 10 years ago, there was an uneasy relationship between museums and fashion. But today there are more museum directors who are engaging in contemporary fashion.” And pop culture highlights fashion’s allure. “A hit show like ‘Project Runway,’ whose viewers are young females, underscores the passion for fashion among a key demographic that is also crucial for museums,” said Tyler Green, who edits the blog Modern Art Notes.
And there are more in the works. The Bard Graduate Center is scheduled to host a show by master milliner Stephen Jones; the Dallas Museum of Art will host a Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition next November; and the Shelburne Museum in Vermont will soon debut “In Fashion: High Style, 1690-2011.”
Here are images from some of the current and upcoming high style exhibitions. If you're able to attend one of these inspirational displays of art, be sure to stop by.
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN: SAVAGE BEAUTY
Alexander McQueen, photos: Solve Sundsbo/The Metropolitan Museum of Art
More images at guardian.co.uk
MADAME GRÈS: COUTURE AT WORK
Madame Grès evening gown, 1954, photo: Henry Clarke/Galliera
Madame Grès with one of her designs circa 1946, Eugene Rubin/FNAC/Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris, courtesy of NYtimes.com
BALENCIAGA AND SPAIN
Rodarte, photos: Autumn de Wilde/MOCA.org