MoMA New York City – Items: Is Fashion Modern? opens today
The new exhibition that opens today at MoMA is called Items: Is fashion Modern?
As designers we constantly push to find the ‘new’ whilst being aware that in order to understand the nature of fashion, its cyclical nature, we have to also understand it’s history, and naturally it’s difficult not to be influenced by that history, or the visionaries who have made lasting impressions on such a rich landscape. Its only the influences around us within a specific time and place that often radically shift the perspective and interpretation of what is new. So the question of modernity is a really good one!
Walking around the Balenciaga exhibition a few months ago I found myself thinking how ‘modern’ so many of the shapes were that had been conceived long before I had been, so that definition has always intrigued me. What is it that makes something modern? Especially in something like apparel, which at the end of the day, will always need to serve the purpose of clothing someone – with varying levels of the avant-garde or ‘personal expression’ being adopted.
The exhibition’s been described as exploring ‘the present, past—and sometimes the future—of 111 items of clothing and accessories that have had a strong impact on the world in the 20th and 21st centuries—and continue to hold currency today. Among them are pieces as well-known and transformative as the Levi’s 501s, the Breton shirt, and the Little Black Dress, and as ancient and culturally charged as the sari, the pearl necklace, the kippah, and the keffiyeh.
Items has also invited some designers, engineers, and manufacturers to respond to some of these indispensable items with pioneering materials, approaches, and techniques—extending this conversation into the near and distant futures, and connecting the history of these garments with their present recombination and use. Driven first and foremost by objects, not designers, the exhibition considers the many relationships between fashion and functionality, culture, aesthetics, politics, labor, identity, economy, and technology.’
To find out more check out the MoMA webpage and see below for some videos from the curator of the exhibition: