April 1, 2010

Try These On for Size: Fashion Exhibits

Slip on your walking Choos. Museums everywhere are exploring their fashion sense this spring.

At the Indianapolis Museum of Art, “Body Unbound: Contemporary Couture From the IMA’s Collection” documents the liberation of the female form. Think trailblazing garments from Issey Miyake androgyny to Gianni Versace audacity. Already on view, the show extends until January 20.

Charles James silk ball gown, 1953

Jean Paul Gaultier’s nylon-spandex dress from 1996 is on view at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Rudi Gernreich’s 1968 wool-vinyl dress, also at the IMA.

Several New York shows open the first week in May. Scandinavia House promotes ecological, ethical agendas in “Eco Chic—Towards Sustainable Swedish Fashion.” The Brooklyn Museum, which has a prestigious but little-visited costume collection, is aiming for greater exposure through a loan agreement with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity,” the Met will show 80 garments from the Brooklyn vaults—some unseen by the public for three decades. Which isn’t to say the Met is resting on its laurels. Simultaneously, its own “American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection” spotlights the likes of Charles James and Bonnie Cashin.

Martin Munkacsi’s photograph in a separate show at the Met. A Julian Red advertisement at New York’s Scandinavia House.

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