Michelle Finamore, a curator of Textiles and Fashion Arts at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, told me that more and more museums are taking fashion seriously and mounting exhibitions that explore its meanings in history and culture. (Lucky me—I got to interview her about the Museum’s 2013–2014 “Think Pink” exhibition while writing a piece for SJ Chronicle.) So true! Herewith, a handful of shows you might enjoy. If you’re grounded while the Lear’s in for a tune-up, do some virtual cruising on the museum websites. They usually have great photos. And it’s free.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede
Andy Warhol Museum, 18 May 2014–24 August, 2014
Seems these guys were besties. Who knew? Halston not only collected Warhol’s works but also appeared in some of them. From the museum’s website: “The exhibition integrates Halston’s garments and accessories with photography, video and paintings by Warhol.” Among the objects you can ogle: A pillbox hat that Halston designed for Jackie Kennedy in 1961. Once the show wraps up in Pittsburgh (Warhol’s home town), it will travel, so maybe you can catch it at a museum near you.
Springfield, Massachusetts / Brassy Bridal: Steampunk Wedding
Springfield Museums, 22 March 2014–28 September 2014
The website has background and getting-there info, but see their Pinterest board for photos of the wedding outfits, along with some other amazing stuff from the exhibition.
Never heard of Steampunk , or still trying to wrap your mind around what it is? Here’s some help: “[Steampunk embodies] an alternative future where Victorian aesthetics and Industrial Age ingenuity meet, mix, and match with modern technology” (from “Steam Power” by Laura Holland, Preview Massachusetts, March 2014).
Antwerp, Belgium / Birds of Paradise: Feathers and Plumes in Fashion
ModeMuseum, 20 March 2014–24 August 2014
From the museum website: “An ode to the elegance and refinement of the application of plumes and feathers in fashion and haute couture.” Just goes to show you that everything young was old once: Many designers this season made exuberant use of feathers (and fur). Gowns by Chanel, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Nina Ricci, Luis Vuitton, Thierry Mugler, Giambatista Valli, Saint Laurent, and Ann Demeulemeester.
London, England / Wedding Dresses 1775–2014
Victoria and Albert Museum, 3 May 2014–15 March 2015
The museum website invites you to “trace the eternal fashion of the wedding dress and discover the most romantic, glamorous and iconic dresses from the last 200 years.” Astonishing, the range of styles people have chosen to be married in. See garments by Charles Frederick Worth, Charles James, Vivienne Westwood, Vera Wang, John Galliano, and many more. Among them: the purplish dress Dita Von Teese wore when she married Marilyn Manson in 2005. As for longevity, the dress has lasted a lot longer than the marriage (around 2 years). Sigh. Clothes can do a lot, but not everything.