A Guide to NYC Summer Fashion Exhibits
Experience some fashion, culture and art at these fashion-focused exhibitions currently on view at some of the best museums in New York City.
April 30, 2017
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Whether you’re down with the ‘60s hippie vibe or would rather reminisce about the sparkly styles of the Prohibition era, there’s a fashion exhibit popping up this summer that’ll peak your interest.
Here’s a lineup of the best exhibits to check out around the city during your newfound free time.
The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s
Cooper Hewitt, 2 E. 91 St., Open through August 20
Let’s take it back to the time of flapper dresses and brassy background music. With over 400 pieces from the unforgettable Jazz Age, Cooper Hewitt’s exhibit claims to be the first major exhibit to highlight American culture during the 1920s, an era when creativity was rampant. In addition to the film and music, this exhibit presents interior design, industrial design, decorative art, jewelry, fashion and architecture. “A Smaller World” — a section in the exhibit — houses a majority of the fashion pieces, which centered on the department store boom in America.
Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture
Museum of Art and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, Open through August 20
The hippie movement — a reaction against the conservative and structured fashions of the preceding 1950s — blossomed as the counterculture in 1960s and 1970s America. Dripping with tie dye, the counterculture movement gave way to self-realization and freedom of expression. The fashion of the hippie movement emulates what its participants strived for — racial and gender equality, renewed spirituality and destruction of cultural norms. In addition to the classic tie dye elements, the exhibit focuses on quilting, embroidery, patchwork and crochet.
Black Fashion Designers
Museum at FIT, 227 W. 27th St., Open through May 16
This exhibit highlights pieces by black designers from the permanent collection at MFIT. The exhibit puts the pieces in a wider context where visitors can appreciate the pieces with knowledge of the designer’s background rather than being seen just in the context of fashion. “The Ebony Fashion Fair” — an annual fashion show with black models that has been running for five decades — and the influence of black fashion models are among other main themes in the exhibit.
Native Fashion Now
National Museum of the American Indian, 1 Bowling Green, Open through September 4
NMAI’s mission for this exhibit is to clear up the misconceptions of Native American fashion created by big name companies, most notably Ralph Lauren, which had an ad campaign depicting antique-style photos of Native Americans wearing Western attire. The collection ranges from street style to couture. Each designer uses their native heritage as inspiration, whether that be in the beading, colors, use of feathers or slogans that read, “Native Americans Discovered Columbus.”
Georgia O’Keefe: Living Modern
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Open through July 23
Known for her paintings of enlarged flowers and animal skulls, Georgia O’Keefe’s legacy comes alive in an exhibit which explores her personality through her personal style rather than her art. In addition to paintings by O’Keefe, the exhibit features pictures of O’Keefe and her fashion evolution. O’Keefe’s early years denoted a style full of ornamentation, which then evolved into a simplistic black and white during her time in New York. When she relocated to New Mexico, her outfits shifted from bleak to rampant with color — inspired by the southwestern landscape. The Brooklyn Museum is also giving free tours of the exhibit for a further look into O’Keefe’s life.
Email Pamela Jew at [email protected]