Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Style Lessons from MoMa's New Fashion Exhibit

This past Sunday, my friend Laura and I went to see the MoMa's new exhibit, "Is Fashion Modern?"  curated by Paola Antonelli. The MoMa hasn't had an exhibition dedicated solely to fashion since 1944, so admittedly Laura and I had very high expectations for what we were about to see.  The exhibition idea started when senior design and architecture coordinator Paola Antonelli began scribbling down on post-it notes the articles of clothing that have undoubtedly changed the world.  Soon, she began working with a team of curators to turn her notes in to an edited list of 111 items that have been identified as fashion's "most important game changers."  While there are plenty of luxury items selected (like the Birkin bag and the Cartier love bracelet), many are everyday pieces we've all donned- like the white t-shirt, the hoodie, and yoga pants.  

The exhibition opens with designer Rudi Gernreich's 1970 interpretations of what fashion would look like in the year 2000- he envisioned we'd be wearing knit jumpsuits.  "Women will wear pants and men will wear skirts interchangeably..." he predicted to Time Magazine:

While we haven't seen skirts become mainstream for men quite yet, Rudi wasn't too far off with the jumpsuit idea, especially after you examine the 2017 Paris fashion week runways. 

 The next phase of the exhibit explores the many iterations of the "little black dress" over the last century.  On the far left we see Coco Chanel's silk chiffon and glass-beaded evening dress designed in 1925,  then a Charles Creed rayon crepe dress from 1942, and in the middle is Christian Dior's two-piece silk taffeta dress from 1950:

My favorite LBDs to view were the funky styles from the 80s and 90s, like this Versace number (1994):

A few other pieces I love that were part of the exhibition:

Diane Von Furstenberg's wrap dress, originally designed in 1974, is constructed of cotton-rayon, allowing the garment to conform to multiple body types.  It was originally marketed as a dress for the "busy, professional woman":

The caftan, originally designed in 1970 by Thea Porter:

Cable knit sweater:

The "Breton" shirt (mariniere in French) shown below was part of the historical uniform of the French Navy, and was adopted by European sailors and fisherman as early as the mid 1600s.  It's stripes were useful at sea, as they were more visible from a distance than plain colors.  However, the most famous champion of the mariniere is Pablo Picasso:

Christian Loubatin patent black pumps:

Levis 501 Jeans- In 1873 Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss and Nevada tailor Jacob W Davis patented a process for using copper rivets to strengthen the corners of the pockets of denim pants.  The jeans were glamourized by Hollywood cowboy movies of the 1930s.  In 2016, an estimated 1,240,000,000 pairs of jeans were sold worldwide:

Head wraps of all kinds:

The modern hoodie was born in 1930 when sportswear manufacturer Champion designed the hooded sweatshirt to keep athletes warm before and after training.  In the 1950s, it became a quintessential college wardrobe item.  In the 1970s, the hoodie became a form of armor for graffiti artists to pull up their hood while practicing their art.   And who could forget when the Wu Tang Clan wore hoodies on the cover of their 1993 classic album Enter the Wu-Tang  (36 Chambers)?  The hoodie has now became a symbol of measured defiance against established business dress codes thanks to Mark Zuckerberg:

My main thought as I was perusing the exhibit was how many of the 111 enduring pieces are the perfect building blocks for a capsule wardrobe.  This collection shows us that that a classic well-constructed knit sweater, a good pair of jeans, a DVF wrap dress, and an LBD will always be in style.  

Shop "Is Fashion Modern?" Inspiration Pieces:

1.) Striped Wrap Hat $145/2.) J. Crew Boatneck Top $119/3.) Leather Ballet Flats $40/
4.) Ruffly Tulle Dress $119/ 5.) Scarpa Trench Coat $109/ 6.) Cotton V-Neck Tee $19.50/
7.) Christian Louboutin Leather Pump $675/8.) Cartier Love Bracelet $6,3009.) Panama Straw Safari Hat $185/
10.) Crewneck Sweater $99/ 11.) Hermes Birkin Bag $28,500/ 12.) Halton Heritage Slip Dress $295
13.) Ex-Boyfriend Crop Jeans $135/14.) DVF Wrap Dress $428/15.) Rayban Aviator Sunglasses $168/

The "Is Fashion Modern?" exhibit runs through January 28th, 2018 at the MoMa, and is a must see!  Tickets are $25 for adults, $14 for students, and $18 for seniors.

1 comment:

  1. Cool Collection loved the design & cant wait to try them


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