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Fashion-Related Exhibitions for 2011

Exhibitions in the New York area:

"sporting life" "gym suit" mfitGym suit, blue cotton twill, 1896, USA, museum purchase. - Photograph by Eileen Costa ©MFIT.
The Museum at FIT is celebrating the unique fashion sensibility of Daphne Guinness until January 7, 2012 and and through May 8 is highlighting masterpieces from the Museum's permanent collections in The Great Designers, Part One;

Fiber Futures: Japan's Textile Pioneers showcases the dynamic field of Japanese fiber art. Moving far beyond traditional utility, Japan's textile pioneers fuse past and present to create innovative, beautiful and sometimes challenging works of art. On view at the Japan Society until December 18, 2011;

in the ten years since Glenda Bailey became Editor in Chief of Harper's Bazaar, she and Creative Director Stephen Gan have carried on the magazine's tradition of publishing high-impact photography. Harper's Bazaar: A Decade of Style distills that decade into a
choice group of nearly thirty images by some of the most important photographers working today. On view until January 8, 2012 at International Center for Photography;

American artists of the Jazz Age struggled to express the experience of a dramatically remade modern world, demonstrating their faith in the potentiality of youth and in the sustaining value of beauty. Youth and Beauty presents 140 works by artists including Thomas Hart Benton, Imogen Cunningham, Charles Demuth, Aaron Douglas, Edward Hopper, Gaston Lachaise, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Luigi Lucioni, Gerald Murphy, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Weston. At the Brooklyn Museum through January 29, 2012;

from the 1920s through the ‘60s, Manhattan’s artistic and social circles embraced British-born photographer and designer Cecil Beaton (1904-80). Cecil Beaton: The New York Years brings together extraordinary photographs, drawings, and costumes by Beaton to chronicle his impact on the city’s cultural life. At the Museum of the City of New York through February 20, 2012;

Bijoux: The Origins and Impact of Jewelry investigates the wide range of materials used to make jewelry, from bones and fossils, to diamonds and CZs. The exhibition also explores the ingenuity of artists to create adornment from a host of materials, from the common to the sublime. On view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT through March 11, 2012;

and Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones — a collaboration between the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Stephen Jones, the world’s foremost hat designer — is at the Bard Graduate Center (BGC) until April 15, 2012. On display are more than 250 hats chosen with the expert eye of the master milliner;

the spring 2012 exhibition organized by The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: On Fashion. On view from May 10 through August 19, 2012, the exhibition will explore the striking affinities between these two Italian designers from different eras;

turban Turban. India, 1800–1900.
Paper mache covered with red velvet, gold thread, and sequins. Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, 0336 (IS). © V&A Images

between 1889 and 1903, New York socialite Peter Marié (1825–1903) commissioned portrait miniatures of women whom he believed epitomized female beauty. His collection of nearly 300 watercolor-on-ivory miniatures stands today as a vivid document of New York’s Gilded Age aristocracy. Beauties of the Gilded Age presents likenesses of many well-known women of the era, including legendary actress Maude Adams, First Lady Frances Folsom Cleveland, artist Lydia Emmet, and the doyenne of etiquette, Emily Post. At the New York Historical Society until November 11, 2012.

Designer tributes:

chanel mint museum House of Chanel, circa 1998-2004. Photo: Gift of a Palm Beach Lady. Mint Museum The Mint Museum Randolf in Charlotte, NC presents a selection of Chanel's iconic tailored two-piece suits, evening wear including the quintessential little black dress and fashion accessories such as eyewear, footwear, jewelry, and handbags. Chanel: Designs for the Modern Woman is on view through December 31, 2011.

Poiret - King of Fashion, at the Moscow Kremlin until January 12, 2012, is dedicated to the Poiret’s art of dressmaking and his innovative conception of woman’s clothing.

Phoenix Art Museum presents a Museum retrospective to highlight the extraordinary ingenuity of American designer Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo. On view until February 12, 2012.

Jean Paul Gaultier, whose early work in the 1970s earned him the nickname enfant terrible of fashion, is unquestionably one of the most important fashion designers in recent decades. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk moved from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to the Dallas Museum of Art and will stay until February 12, 2012.

The ModeMuseum in Antwerp, Belgium presents DREAMSUITS. Designs by Nudie Cohn, the Rodeo Tailor – featuring the collection of Bobbejaan Schoepen, an exhibition of fascinating outfits, accessories and ephemera by the legendary Nudie Cohn which runs through February 12, 2012.

Also at ModeMuseum is Walter Van Beirendonck: Dream the World Awake, the first large-scale retrospective exhibition of the work of the maverick of the Antwerp fashion scene. Open til February 19, 2012.

Charles James: Genius Deconstructed explores the history of couture fashion designer Charles James and why nearly 40 years after his death he is still a relevant force in the fashion world. On view at the Chicago History Museum through April 16, 2012.

Walter Van BeirendonckWalter Van Beirendonck

The Groninger Museum in The Netherlands is staging a retrospective of the Tunisian-born couturier Azzedine Alaïa, who has dressed celebrities from Greta Garbo to Michelle Obama. Azzedine Alaïa in the 21st Century displays the most fantastic Alaïa fashion creations of the last ten years from December 11 2011 to May 6, 2012.

Christian Louboutin, at London's Design Museum from March 28 to July 1, 2012, celebrates the career of this iconic French shoe designer, showcasing twenty years of designs and inspiration, revealing the artistry and theatricality of his shoe design from stilettos to lace-up boots, studded sneakers and bejewelled pumps. Louboutin’s shoes are the epitome of style, glamour, power, femininity and elegance.

yves saint laurent Yves Saint Laurent
The 40-year retrospective of designer Yves Saint Laurent will be at the Denver Art Museum from March 25 through July 7, 2012 and feature over 200 haute couture garments, as well as historical photos, drawings and films that highlight the designer’s extensive career. From his early days at Dior to his final show for Yves in 2002, Saint Laurent remains one of the most influential creative minds of the last century.

Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris from March 6 to September 16, 2012 tells the stories of two men, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs (artistic director of LV), and will highlight their contributions to the fashion world. How did these two personalities, each with their own language,
appropriate cultural phenomena and codes to write the history of contemporary fashion?

Another tribute to Chanel is on view in Beijing, China. Culture Chanel focuses on the life and design of the influential fashion designer at the National Art Museum of China until December 13, 2012.

The image of fashion is ever present

Snapshots of celebrations, vacations, and gatherings of family and friends can be transformed into cultural artifacts that collectively reveal a great deal about the evolving ritual of self-presentation in front of the camera. The Three Graces presents approximately 500 such snapshots found and collected by Peter J. Cohen, who named this group featuring trios of women after the iconic Greco-Roman motif. At the Art Institute of Chicago from October 29, 2011 to January 22, 2012;

No fashion, please! is about the rejection of traditional ideas of fashion and beauty as interpreted by the contemporary international photography scene.  The selected photographers explore the fundamental relationship between bodies and clothes, the dialectics between the form of the body and its appearance, and are rooted in the tradition of body art and strongly rely on references to installations, ceremonies, and rituals. On view at the KUNSTHALLE wien in Vienna until January 22, 2012;

Also at the KUNSTHALLE is Vanity -- about two hundred works from the F.C. Gundlach Collection, one of the most comprehensive private collections of photographs in the german-speaking world. Included are iconic and unknown photographic images by F.C. Gundlach and his colleagues - amongst them e.g. Richard Avedon, Sibylle Bergemann, Cecil Beaton, Nick Knight, Peter Lindbergh and Wols. On view through February 12, 2012;

In Korea, Seoul Arts Center's Hangaram Design Museum presents David LaChapelle, a retrospective exhibition presenting over two-hundred classic and recent photographs. Alongside familiar subversive photographs originally commissioned for fashion and
Vanity F.C. GundlachF.C. Gundlach, Brigitte Bauer, Op Art-Badeanzug von Sinz, Vouliagmeni/Greiechenland 1966, © F.C. Gundlach
celebrity editorials, the show explores LaChapelle's personal projects, created recently as part of his artistic and critical expression. On view through February 26, 2012.

Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue focuses on the collaborative work of legendary photographer, Irving Penn and renowned designer, Issey Miyake. Through April 8, 2012 at 21_21 Design Sight in Tokyo, Japan;

and Herb Ritts was a Los Angeles-based photographer who established an international reputation for his distinctive photographs of fashion models, nudes, and pop icons. Herb Ritts: L.A. Style will be at The Getty Center in Los Angeles from April 3 until August 26, 2012.

Elsewhere around the globe:

  Evening Dress Detail
Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2008-2009

With a surge in extraordinary donations and purchases between 2000 and the present, the costume collection at FIDM Museum (Los Angeles) attained new eminence and richness, particularly in the areas of 19th– and 20th– century haute couture, mid–20th century American designers, and international contemporary designers. Fabulous! Ten Years of FIDM Museum Acquisitions, 2000–2010 is on view until December 17, 2011.


African Headwear: Beyond Fashion, an exhibition of approximately fifty objects from the Denver Museum’s collection of African art, explores the way in which headwear signifies status in traditional African societies. On view until January 1, 2012.

Exquisite gowns and other wedding apparel reveal how three generations of Post family women celebrated weddings. From turn-of-the-century Edwardian bride to Upper East Side doyenne, Hillwood founder Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973) asserted her status, taste, and sophistication in the styles she wore down the aisle. Wedding Belles: Bridal Fashions from the Marjorie Merriweather Post Family, 1874-1958 can be visited at the Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens in Washington D.C. until January 1, 2012.

Collecting for over 50 years from vintage dealers around the world, Cincinnati native Betty Galpin Colker recently donated her collection to the Cincinnati Art Museum where they are mounting her 1920s gowns in Art Deco: Fashion and Design in the Jazz Age through January 1, 2012.

The sartorial and societal significance of seven centuries of European fans is documented in Gripping Diversity! Fans and Gloves from the MAK Collection. On view until January 4, 2012 at Vienna's Museum of Applied Arts.
Until January 8, 2012 the Fashion Museum of Hasselt (MMH), Belgium presents historical costumes as well as contemporary high fashion design in the exhibition Prints! Motifs in Costume & Fashion History (1750-2000).

In celebration of Italy's 150th anniversary as a unified country, the Reggia di Venaria in Turin hosts the exhibition Fashion in Italy: 150 Years of Elegance. On view through January 8, 2012.


Coats! Max Mara, 60 Years of Italian Fashion will tell the story of the label’s heritage, with a focus on its most iconic and influential garment: The coat. The exhibition runs through January 10th, 2012, at the State Historical Museum in Moscow.
Fashion in Italy Sartoria Romana, evening dress, 1965 ca. (Tirelli Collection)
The Mayfair-based gallery Shizaru in London will be staging Art Rocks: Contemporary Jewellery, an exhibition of 10 designers that will mix of established names with emerging talent from around the world. Shaun Leane is one of the UK designers and his piece The Glove, which took five years to make from 18ct white gold and 5,000 pave-set diamonds and is a perfect fit for heiress Daphne Guinness’s arm, will be on display. The event runs until January 14, 2012.

British designers Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest, Boudicca, and Stephen Jones, use fashion to each tell the story of a different former Royal resident of Kensington Palace in the Enchanted Palace exhibition. Runs until January 2012.

The objects in Material World, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, showcase items adorned with luxurious materials including gold and metallic threads, beads, shells, mirrors, semi-precious stones, bones, fur and feathers. Objects range from a Buddhist bone apron to Dior and Chanel couture pieces and span several centuries to the present day from cultures around the world that especially highlight the significance of textiles in displaying wealth, status and power. On view until February 6, 2012.

The House of Annie Lennox is an immersive and intimate display which explores the image and creative vision of the artist. A small selection of costumes and accessories worn by Lennox, is shown with photographs, personal treasures and awards, ephemera from the political campaigns she has championed, music videos and a specially commissioned video of Annie in conversation. At the V&A in London through February 26, 2012.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has opened Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power - an exhibit that illustrates the important roles women have played in rock and roll, from its inception through today. On display are costumes, instruments, handwritten lyrics, video and listening stations, plus much more.  Through February 26, 2012 in Cleveland, OH.

cocktail culture triocchi Anna and Laura Tirocchi silk cellophane, sequin, jet bead, net embroidered dress, 1925. All Dressed Up - 1950s Style at the Grand Rapids Public Museum is indebted to Grand Rapids native Doris Cole, who donated a collection of mid-century dresses,  photos, invitations, yearbooks and other mementos from the period. On view through February 2012.

Bling, at the Oshkosh Public Museum in Wisconsin until March 4, 2012, explores the art of fashion through the exhibition of haute couture styles dating from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries.

Cocktail Culture at the Norton Museum of Art is one of the first multi-disciplinary exhibitions to explore the social rituals of drinking and entertaining (i.e. The cocktail hour) through the lens of fashion and design, and will leave you positively stirred, not shaken!. The exhibition runs from December 15, 2011 through March 11, 2012, and features more than 150 objects dating from the 1920s to the present.

Fashion Visionaries showcases the work of Hong Kong designers, film art directors, fashion photographers, illustrators and young fashion designers. The exhibition is designed to promote Hong Kong’s diverse culture and design achievements. At the Hong Kong Heritage Museum until March 12, 2012.

Sustainable Fashion: Exploring the Paradox at Kent State University Museum in Ohio is a comprehensive look at sustainable practices in fashion. On view through March 18, 2012.

California Design, 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way features furniture, ceramics, metalwork, fashion and textiles, and industrial and graphic design to examine the state’s role in shaping the material culture of the entire country. At LACMA until March 25, 2012.

From the 1930s to the 1980s a dramatic change took place in the perception of work, employment and social responsibility in Israeli society and economy.
ATA: Factory, fashion and dream tells the story of the Ata textile factory and how it mirrors the changes that took place in Israeli society. On view at the Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv through March 30, 2012.

Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Court explores the extraordinary culture of princely India, showcasing rich and varied objects that reflect different aspects of royal life. On display will be both Indian and Western works, featuring paintings, photography, textiles and dress, jewelry, jeweled objects, metalwork and furniture. On view until April 8, 2012 at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.
Charleston has a long and venerable quilt making history. Botanical Quilts: Chintz Appliqué in the 19th Century examines the many different botanically-inspired quilts that graced the beds of Lowcountry residents throughout the 19th century. At the Charleston Museum through April 22, 2012.

134 artists from 20 countries unleash their passion for lace in the spectacular exhibition Love Lace which features the winning entries and finalists from the Powerhouse Museum's International Lace Award. On view in  Sydney, Australia until April 2012. 


Lenka Suchanek lace necklace Lenka Suchanek, Chantilly Necklace, 2011.  Photo: Marinco Kojdanovski. © Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

The British experience during and after WWII was quite different from that of Americans. From the fall of 1940 through the spring of 1941, Britain was subjected to relentless bombing known as the Blitz and even after the Allied victory, they suffered shortages of everyday supplies, and rationing of both food and clothing. Beauty as Duty: Textiles and the Home Front in WWII Britain looks at ways that textiles were put into service on Britain’s Home Front in the 1940s. At the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston through May 28, 2012.

The Roaring Twenties: Heels, Hemlines and High Spirits focuses on the wardrobe and widening horizons of the "New Woman" and looks at how the myriad influences of the period such as cinema, jazz clubs, and world travel influenced the shape of fashionable footwear. At the Bata Shoe Museum through June 2012.

As Americans observe the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, the Kent State University Museum presents On the Home Front: Civil War Fashions and Domestic Life, an exhibit about the material circumstances and domestic life during the Civil War and in the years that followed. Far from being a simple trivial diversion during such a critical period, fashion provides a unique window into the lived experience of Americans who despite being far from the battlefields were deeply and immediately touched by the conflict. On view until August 26, 2012.

The image of women at the seaside in elegant white gowns was a popular subject for Impressionist painters. A Day at the Beach explores the reality of summer tourism with a selection of actual garments of the style that would have been worn near and at the beach. On view at the Kent State University Museum in Ohio from November 18, 2011 through October 7, 2012.

Fashion Accessories from Head to Toe features costume accessories from the late seventeenth through the early nineteenth century. At Colonial Williamsburg January 29, 2011 through December 31, 2012.

Dolley Madison Dolley Madison's embroidered silk satin open robe with hand-embroidery, late 1810s. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is celebrating the opening of their newly renovated Fashion Galleries with an exhibition of beautiful ballgowns, red carpet evening dresses and catwalk showstoppers.  Displayed over two floors, Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 will feature more than sixty designs for social events such as private parties, royal balls, state occasions and opening nights. Runs May 19, 2012 through January 6, 2013.

The First Ladies at the National Museum of American History explores the unofficial but important position of first lady and the ways that different women have shaped the role to make their own contributions to the presidential administrations and the nation. The exhibition featurex more than two dozen gowns from the Smithsonian’s almost 100-year old First Ladies Collection, including those worn by Frances Cleveland, Lou Hoover, Jacqueline Kennedy, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama. It’s the 10th version of the first ladies exhibit in almost 100 years.