New York is such an inspiring place. The people, the city, the culture are all unparalleled in the US. I took yet another spontaneous trip there last weekend for a few interviews, and luckily this time I was able to make it to both the Museum at FIT, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art!
The Museum at FIT had three amazing exhibitions on display: Black Fashion Designers (the exhibition coinciding with the titular symposium, you can read more about that here), Paris Refashioned, 1957-68 (an expo of Paris couture in this pivotal area featuring designs from Dior, YSL, Chanel, André Courrèges and many more), and Adrian: Beyond Hollywood (highlighting the work of pattern-master Adrian Greenberg). Each highlighted very specific perspectives of fashion in different regions, markets, and aesthetics which painted the practice of design in such a multifaceted spectrum. While I walked into the Black Fashion Designers exhibit through the lens of the information that I had learned from the symposium about a month ago, there was still so much to be learned and experienced. For one, seeing the extant works on designers of color was surreal considering that they were often marginalized, and still seemingly invisible in curriculum, but the quality of their garments were on-par with if not superior to those of famous European designers that sprawl the pages of most sartorial literature.
From couture grown from the chains of slavery , to Ozwald Boateng, the
first black tailor on Savile Row (left) (I was floored, this was such an exciting piece of historical affirmation), to the ingenious conceptual commentative composition of men's fashion by contemporary designer Grace Wales-Bonner (below).
In utmost objectivity, the works showcased in this exhibition made for a far superior discourse of fashion, style, and perspective than found in Paris Refashioned, perhaps because of the presentation of relatively invisible designers, or perhaps the diversity of the showcased garments (I'd love to hear different opinions on the matter if you've been!).
On a less contentious note, Adrian. Costume design has always fascinated me because the designs are necessarily larger than life, and outlandish. Despite Adrian's obvious Hollywood success, Edith Head will remain my costume design figurehead, but Adrian settled in quite a more practical abode in my fashion role-model curio. Learning about Adrian in my university 20th century fashion history course, I was immediately a fan of his intense seaming, and patternmaking, but only was able to see maybe one garment of his. Having been able to conduct a consistent visual journey of Adrian's work I was able to gain such a deeper appreciation for his technical ability, and style. The is Schiaparelli, Mme. Grès, and Vionnet, and then there's Adrian, a garment architect, pattern manipulation genius, and dare I say a god of silk jersey (yes this is one garment (right)). Without a doubt Adrian has become one of my most respected in just a short amount of time, and I hope to conduct some research on this talented designer.
So concludes Part 1 of the museum mania...next week I'll delve into the wonders of the Met! If you get a chance to visit these exhibits please do, they are spectacular; but, if you can't check out the below galleries that feature some artifacts from each exhibit. Stay relevant guys!