Monday, October 30, 2017


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A-POC Queen Textile (Issey Miyaki) show as part of the MoMA's Items: Is Fashion Modern 

When fashion re-enters the walls of a renowned art institution 7 decades after its first (and only) showing, heads turn to follow the fuss. Items--some familiar, some commissioned and 111 in total--provisionally pervade the 6th floor galleries at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), offering a sampling of a centuries' worth of fashion design and function. After a 40-year hiatus, Items: Is Fashion Modern sequels the 1944 exhibit Are Clothes Modern? organized by architect Bernard Rudofsky. Focused on select garments and their influence(s), Items: Is Fashion Modern profiles the iconic wearables that define the last decade. Keep reading for a look inside...

Introductory wall

Contrary to customary "fashion" themed exhibits, Items is not a tribute to a specific designer--nor does it honor a stylized aesthetic; rather, it presents an anti-septic assortment of global fashion-objects whose meanings have evolved over time. MoMA's senior curator Paola Antonelli and Michelle Millar Fisher of the MoMA's Department of Architecture and Design together chose 111 items of high historical and societal impact, setting them against notions of archetype, stereotype and prototype. According to Antonelli and Millar, "the exhibition will consider the ways in which items are designed, manufactured, and distributed, and will ponder the relationships between clothing and functionality, cultural etiquettes, aesthetics, politics, labor, economy and technology." [source]


Almost at fault for anti-climactic appeal, the MoMA relies on association and interpretive nostalgia to present the 'fashion' phenomenon that touches all, globally. Insta-worthy ironies? No. Relatable relics? Yes! Months of research and travel amounts to seven categorizations of "fashion" and its modernity: The Changing Body and Silhouette, The Quest For New Technologies, Ideas of Rebellion, Emancipation and Modesty, Messaging Through Clothing, Athleticism and Fashion, Everyday Uniforms and Power. 

Slip dress. Examples by Calvin Klein + XO

The original petit robe noire (a.k.a "the little black dress") rivals Converse All-Stars, hajibs, kippah, Calvin Klein briefs, a Casio watch and the WonderBra in MoMA's catalog of cultural contributions. Sweeping representation becomes part of the experience; the exhibit prompts visitors to better appreciate the narrative behind everyday fashion. A standout is the champion Hoodie--its simplicity and comfort make for a fan favorite. However, beyond function, the hoodie has evolved from practical to political. Once a form of sportswear, the hoodie has become the preferred "uniform" of skate culture and most recently, a controversial marker in the Trayvon Martin case. See also how the hajib is transformed into a burkini!

Balaclava.  One-Star Perfecto leather moto jacket (1950s)

Make a trip uptown, stroll through the space and keep an ear out for comments. The exhibit is open until January 2018. For those outside the tri-state area, enjoy the pictures and have a look at Metropolis Magazine's interview with Paola Antonelli here.

Jumpsuits by Rudi Gernreich

Jumpsuit. [L] Stephen Burrows example from the MET / [R] Richard Malone jumpsuit specimen (2017) commissioned

1930s silk cheongsam from the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), collection of the Chen family


Installation view

Hijab. Items from Haute Hijab, Uniqlo x Hana Tajima, Capsters, Al-Amira style example

Suit + Shirts + Trench

Installation view

[L] Dashiki. Examples from New Breed, Lagos Balogun Market // [R] Kippah. A range of purchased and borrowed kip


Sports Jersey. Michael Jordan's, Colin Kaepernick's, Pelé's, Lisa Leslie's

Shift dress. Items by multiple designers including Anne Klein, Helmut Lang, Marimekko, Lilly Pulitzer, etc.

Keffiyeh. Purchase from Hirbawi Factory. Prototype loan by Salim al-Kadi

Big shirt / Small shirt

 Vivienne Westwood MacAndreas tartan mini kilt


[L] Unisex Project (Rudy Gernreich). Two 1970 bodysuits from FIDM and The MET


Installation view leading to the exit

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