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Fashion Exhibitions this Year: 2012

Exhibitions in the New York area:

The Museum at FIT presents Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of the Museum at FIT, Part Two, a showcase of modern and contemporary pieces from the Museum’s permanent collection on view through November 10, 2012.

Ivy Style, on til January 5, 2013, examines the genesis of the “Ivy League look” on the prestigious college campuses of the United States during the early years of the twentieth century. It also reveals how now, nearly one hundred years after its inception, Ivy style is still a thriving global influence.

Fashion and Technology,
opening December 4th, will examine how throughout history fashion has engaged with technological advancement and been altered by it.
Fashion A-ZRaf Simons for Jil Sander, dress in silk and cotton faille, spring 2011, Italy, gift of Jil Sander.
Antonio’s World is a survey of the work of Antonio Lopez (1943-1987) at The Suzanne Geiss Company through October 20, 2012. The exhibition showcases three decades of the artist’s polymathic creative output, including never before seen drawings, photographs, and ephemera. Lopez’s seminal works, which adorned the pages of Vogue, The New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily, and Interview throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, remain a powerful source of inspiration, galvanizing contemporary visual culture through a variety of disciplines including fine art, digital media, and fashion.

The Brooklyn Public Library presents Fashion Illustration: A Contemporary Look,an exciting new exhibition featuring the latest in contemporary fashion illustration until December 1, 2012. Some of the top New York-and Brooklyn-based fashion artists in the field today will be highlighted, including a retrospective of the work of iconic illustrator Antonio Lopez, the Picasso of fashion illustration.

newark museumAbbott Handerson Thayer (1849-1921) Angel, 1887 Oil on canvas; Smithsonian American Art Museum; Gift of John Gellaty 1929.6.112

The hopes, dreams and fears of girls in the 19th century is explored in an exhibition at the Newark Museum. Featuring masterworks by John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Cecilia Beaux and William Merritt Chase, Angels & Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th-Century American Art explores the numerous ways artists not only reflected but helped shape cultural and artistic visions of girlhood in the 1800’s. Runs through January 6, 2013 before traveling to other venues.

The Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture (BGC) present Circus and the City: New York, 1793-2010, an exhibition that uses New York City as a lens through which to explore the extraordinary development and spectacular pageantry of the American circus. On view until February 3, 2013.


Designer tributes:

The Galliera Museum in Paris has organized two exhibitions at the Docks-Cité de la Mode et du Design, a new venue on the banks of the Seine. The World of Cristóbal Balenciaga and Comme des garçons – White Drama will both be on view until October 7, 2012.

The SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia presents The Total Look: The Creative Collaboration between Rudi Gernreich, Peggy Moffitt, and William Claxton, a multimedia exhibition that celebrates the unique and dynamic collaboration between the great fashion designer Rudi Gernreich, his model and muse Peggy Moffitt, and Moffitt’s late husband, photographer William Claxton, who created the distinctive images of Moffitt activating Gernreich’s designs. The exhibition features selected looks from Moffitt’s collection, with films and photographs by Claxton of Moffitt modeling the clothes. Through October 7, 2012.

Peggy MoffittPeggy Moffitt modeling Rudi Gernreich designs, 1966. Photograph by William Claxton.

Yohji Yamamoto remains one of the world's most influential and enigmatic designers and over the last forty years has made a vital contribution to fashion, challenging traditional norms of clothing with his style. The exhibition Yohji Yamamoto at Design Museum Holon in Israel coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Japan-Israel relationship and the 40th anniversary of Yamamoto's company, Y's. On view through October 20, 2012.

Chloé. Attitudes is a celebration of the Maison’s 60-year contribution to fashion culture, a luxury prêt-à-porter clothing branc since 1952. This exhibition offers a playful interpretation of the Chloé spirit that spans seven decades, taking a thematic path through the very best of Chloé’s creativity, pausing at key moments within its history. At the Palais de Tokyo in Paris through November 18, 2012.

Silver Threads and Golden Needles: Nudie's Rodeo Tailors traces the tailor's journey across America, from designing burlesque costumes in New York to opening his legendary shop in North Hollywood. Cohn created ornamented masterpieces for A-list performers including Gene Autry, Elton John, Gram Parsons, Elvis Presley, Roy Rogers, Hank Williams and many others. Located within Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum's permanent exhibit, Silver Threads will run through November 2012.

The Fashion & Textile Gallery at The Bowes Museum, Country Durham U.K, features a dress designed by Lucile which spotlights both the glamorous and dangerous worlds of 1912. A fascinating story behind an exquisite wedding dress is revealed. Apart from Lucile’s escape from the Titanic in April, 1912, the exploits of the bride and groom on their honeymoon in June 1912 are equally incredulous. Lucile - Fashion Designer, Titanic Survivor is open until January 6, 2013.

Halston evening dressHalston evening dress, 1972.
The strength of the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s fashion arts collection is rooted in celebrated American fashion designers Norman Norell, Bill Blass, and Halston, all of whom hailed from Indiana. An American Legacy is the first group exhibition devoted to these prolific Indiana designers, whose work came to define a true American style. Up through January 27, 2013.

This autumn, the MoMu in Antwerp, Belgium  will host an exhibition on the work of Madame Grès, originally an initiative of the Musée Galliera in Paris. A sculptress by training, it was as a fashion designer that she had such an important influence on contemporary designers. Her significance for fashion cannot be underestimated, earning her the nickname of ‘the designer’s designer.’ Until February 10th, 2013.

"To wear dreams on one’s feet is to begin to give a reality to one’s dreams" -Roger Vivier. At the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto,  Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection focuses on the designer who was renowned for the bejewelled and elegantly sculptural shoes that he created throughout his life. Many of his innovations, such as the needle, choc and comma heels are as important in fashion today as when he first introduced them. Through April 7, 2013.

A new major fashion exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery from September 22 2012 to April 14  2013 celebrates all things Biba and Beyond! The exhibition looks at the the Biba store, the clothes, the lifestyle and the far reaching influence of this iconic brand as well as the life and times of the charismatic and talented woman behind the label, Barbara Hulanicki. With its cutting edge yet affordable fashion, Barbara Hulanicki’s iconic Biba store and label transformed the High Street shopping experience in the 1960s and 70s. Young working women shopped alongside models and celebrities, including Twiggy, Cher and the Rolling Stones. Art Deco, Victorian and Hollywood glamour all combined in striking, romantic and sensual designs.

Pictures of fashion and identity

Many 20th-century photographers relied on their subjects’ attire to help craft a social narrative. Public Dress, an installation of images from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston photography collection, presents a sampling of themes that highlight the relationship between photography and everyday dress. On view until October 8, 2012.

To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, The Queen Art & Image brings together some of the most remarkable and resonant images of Elizabeth II made during her reign. From formal painted portraits to commissioned photographs and from press images to works by celebrated contemporary artists, the exhibition charts the evolving representation of one of the most portrayed people of all time, and the influence of this imagery on changing perceptions of the monarchy. At the National Portrait Gallery in London until October 21, 2012.

Queen Jubilee Portraits Lightness of Being by Chris Levine, 2007
Courtesy of Mr Kevin P. Burke and the Burke Children. Private Collection.
Fashionality is an exhibition, but first of all a research project, which aims to expand our usual narrow definition of fashion photography by opening it up to a wider range of images of personal style. At camera 16 contemporary art in Milan, Italy until October 27, 2012.

Most of the prints in the exhibit Beauty, Virtue and Vice: Images of Women in Nineteenth-Century American Prints were designed simply to please the eye, but they are also useful to historians who would like to understand how nineteenth-century Americans thought about the world in which they lived. Prints can be extremely useful for understanding the history of popular ideas, understandings, and beliefs. When read carefully and conscientiously, prints can be very useful documentary sources for understanding the past. This permanent online exhibition is hosted by the American Antiquarian Society.

All the World's a Stage:

Just in time for Halloween, Out of This World: Extraordinary Costumes from Film and Television features more than 30 costumes and related items from your favorite science fiction films and television shows including Batman, Star Trek, Blade Runner, The Terminator, Ghostbusters and others. The exhibition examines how costume design incorporates color, style, scale, materials, historical traditions and cultural cues to help audiences engage with the characters being portrayed. Costume highlights include: the hat worn by Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz (1939), the leather jacket worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator (1984) and much more. At the Naples Museum of Art in Naples, FL through December 30, 2012.

Hollywood CostumeKate Winslett as Rose DeWitt in 'Titanic', 1997, costume designed by Deborah L. Scott. 20th Century Fox/Paramount/The Kobal Collection.
The National Costume Museum in Moulins, France, spotlights Christian Lacroix's costume design with Christian Lacroix: La Source and the Ballet of the Opera of Paris. The Swarovski Element-embroidered costumes that Lacroix designed for the 2011 production of “La Source,” a 19th-century ballet with a cast of harem girls, Cossacks, and nymphs is set to be on exhibit until December 31, 2012.

The London's V&A autumn exhibition, Hollywood Costume, explores the central role costume design plays in cinema storytelling. Bringing together over 100 of the most iconic movie costumes from across a century of film-making, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the clothes worn by unforgettable and beloved characters such as Dorothy Gale, Indiana Jones, Scarlett O'Hara, Jack Sparrow, Holly Golightly and Darth Vader. Open from October 20, 2012 through January 27, 2013.

Elsewhere around the globe:

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 through October 7, 2012.

Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion, at the Museum of Contemporary Art - Tokyo, explores the works of Japanese fashion, which has fascinated the world since the latter part of the twentieth century, from a variety of angles, based largely on the collection of The Kyoto Costume Institute (KCI) but also using video and printed materials. On view July 28 through October 8, 2012.

Future Beautysacai /Chitose Abe, Spring/Summer 2012 © sacai

A Century of Millinery Style: Hats from the Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection, 1820s - 1920s is the latest installation in the FIDM Museum's Larson Gallery. Twenty-five rare women's hats, bonnets, and toques fill the gallery, offering visitors a chronological overview of 19th and early 20th century millinery fashions. Three fully dressed mannequins illustrate the relationship between hats and fashionable day dress. Period photographs highlight a range of millinery styles, from delicate to extreme. Two hat boxes, separated by 100 years, exemplify the large packaging needed to protect these expensive, and often fragile, creations. Open until October 20, 2012 in Los Angeles.

In the 1950s a new wave of rock-n-roll and youth culture from America swept the country and the world. The mix of popular images and music with art and fashion would change the way people dressed - blurring the boundaries of commerce, culture and style. POP! DESIGN • CULTURE • FASHION explores the impact of music, art and personality on the development of the fashion of the times. From the poodle skirts and embellished leathers of the rockers through to the Punk era, this exhibition takes in the cool stylings of the Mods, the high baroque of Psychedelia and the kitsch glamour of 70s retro by designers such as Mr Freedom and Miss Mouse. At the Fashion and Textile Museum in London through October 27, 2012.

Horrockses Fashions Limited was one of the most well-respected off-the-peg labels of the 1940s and 1950s. They gained a reputation for practicality and glamour combined with easy-care fabrics. Off the Peg: Fashion from the 40s and 50s draws together fashion photography, archive material and personal stories, but it is the breathtaking costume that most dramatically captures an iconic period in fashion history. Open until October 31, 2012 at the National Museum of Costume, Dumfries, Scotland.

Framed! Contemporary Eyewear in Fashion explores the cultural significance of contemporary eyewear and celebrates the rise and rise of fashion’s ultimate luxury accessory. Charting eyewear’s historical development from the mid-twentieth century until the present day, its role in fashion and popular culture is explored via the use of iconic archival objects and imagery. At Fashion Space Gallery in London until November 3, 2012.

Art Deco shoeArt Deco shoe, English, c. 1925, Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum.
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 November 4, 2012.


From Mini to Maxi. Fashion from the 1960s features a collection of couture owned by the theatrical designer Alexandre Vassiliev.  This traveling exhibition on view at the Museum of Applied Art in Vilnius, Lithuania through November 4, 2012.

Crumpled, pleated, and painted, ordinary paper becomes haute couture in the hands of the Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave. By reconstructing dresses from key periods in fashion history, Prêt-à-Papier: The Exquisite Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave presents a range of styles from the late 17th to the early 20th century. The costumes of Tsar Peter the Great and Empress Josephine, as well as works inspired by designers Mariano Fortuny and Charles Frederick Worth, will be on view December 30, 2012 at the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens in Washington D.C.

It's the year of the 2012 Olympics in London and the Fashion Museum in Bath (U.K.) is presenting SPORT and FASHION, an exhibition examining the close connection between active sportswear and fashion by showcasing examples of historic sportswear from the museum collection alongside modern fashions and the very best of today’s sportswear. Continues throughout 2012.

Also at the Fashion Museum in Bath (U.K.) is Glamour, featuring twenty two show stopping evening gowns and cocktail dresses. From luxurious ladylike to razzle dazzle party girl, this selection of the past century’s finest evening ensembles includes a 1965 light purple silk satin gown with applied beads, sequins and silver thread embroidery by Norman Hartnell and a red Harrods dress with applied beads and sequins, ca. 1960s. Also continues throughout 2012.

Fashion Accessories from Head to Toe features costume accessories from the late seventeenth through the early nineteenth century. At Colonial Williamsburg through January 1, 2013.

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 features more than sixty designs for social events such as private parties, royal balls, state occasions and opening nights. Runs through January 6, 2013.

Until the mid-twentieth century, Macedonian women wove, embroidered, and wore magnificent ensembles of dress that indicated what village and region they came from and where they were in the cycle of life. From puberty through betrothal, marriage, child bearing, and old age, dress changed to reflect status change. Young Brides, Old Treasures: Macedonian Embroidered Dress is at The Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM until January 6, 2013.
Alexander McQueeAlexander McQueen, S/S 2011. Image: Courtesy Christopher Moore, Catwalking.

With its exhibition Dressing the 20th Century. Women's fashion in the Designer Era, Modemuseum Hasselt in Belgium presents an exceptional selection of masterpieces and new acquisition from its own collection. MMH recently obtained a number of important designs from key figures from the 20th Century. The exhibition focuses on international movements and highlights, and illustrates the changing dialogue of female fashion in the West. On view through January 6, 2013.

The newness of California, and the state’s periodic bursts of population growth, afforded unprecedented opportunities for women to participate in the creation and production of design, one of the principal engines of California’s dynamic economy, now the sixth largest in the world. As California’s extraordinary role in American design is receiving the recognition it has long deserved, California’s Designing Women, 1896–1986 at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles acknowledges the work of more than fifty of the women who, as designers and entrepreneurs, helped make that distinction possible. Through January 6, 2013.

Hawai‘i’s unofficial uniform is the boardshort—a perfect fit for the birthplace of surfing. Boardshorts in Hawai‘i were initially created as custom-made surf trunks by tailors at popular venues such as the H. Miura Store in Hale‘iwa, Take’s in Waikiki, or M. Nii’s in Makaha during the 1950s. These early boardshorts were first designed for fit and comfort, maximized for the ultimate wave-riding experience. Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit, chronicles the fascinating evolution of a single, simple garment that today is a symbol of extreme sports and a counterculture lifestyle. On view at the Honolulu Museum of Art until January 13, 2013

The Guayabera: A Shirt’s Story explores the changing uses and significance of the guayabera, a traditional piece of menswear worn by Latin American and Caribbean populations. The exhibition will explore the guayabera’s evolution from a guajiro (peasant) shirt in the late 1800s into a fashionable piece of contemporary menswear.  On display will be historical examples  and photographs of the shirt that highlight its changing uses and significance over time, its construction and the tailors, fashion designers and tradition bearers who have played an important role in its stylistic development. On view until January 13, 2013 at The Museum of History Miami.
Little Black DressRalph Lauren, floor-length evening dress; fall 2011; Courtesy of Ralph Lauren, New York.
SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia presents Little Black Dress. Curated by SCAD trustee and Vogue Contributing Editor André Leon Talley, the exhibition features approximately 80 garments from a canon of modern fashion designers. Open through January 27, 2013.

Kitty and the Bulldog: Lolita fashion and the influence of Britain explores the way in which British fashion – notably Victoriana, Punk and Gothic – has influenced the development of Japan’s ‘Lolita’ style, a cult fashion movement whose defining feature has been its preoccupation with cuteness, or ‘kawaii’. The display features nine outfits recently bought in Tokyo for the V&A's permanent collections. At the V&A in London through January 27, 2013.
Crinolines, corsets, busks, bustles, and brassieres. Throughout time, women of the western world have worn a variety of undergarments designed to push/pull and expand/shrink the human body into shapes deemed fashionable at the time. Fashion is always evolving, but why does such change happen? Many factors influence these changes—technology, advertising, societal pressures, economics, beliefs about modesty, even politics—all play a role. Add the shifting and often disputed concepts about femininity and women’s roles, and change becomes inevitable. While these “unmentionables” may appear insignificant, they are powerful artifacts that chronicle the evolution of women’s progress in an ever-changing society. Underneath It All at the Missouri History Museum showcases the fashionable silhouettes of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries until January 27, 2013.

The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Florence, Italy pays homage to Marilyn Monroe with a major exhibition dedicated to her a half century after her death. Through January 28, 2013.

Charleston Couture showcases the area’s finest garments and accessories from the 1770s to the 1970s and includes some true haute couture garments brought back by privileged Lowcountry residents from their wide travels. Of significance are pieces designed and made by Charles Frederick Worth and Mariano Fortuny, along with fashionable examples of lesser-known clothiers and Charleston dressmakers. Through February 10, 2013 at the Charleston Museum.

Australian Muslim women dress in diverse styles and are increasingly choosing to engage with global fashion trends while also expressing their faith. Faith, fashion, fusion explores Sydney’s emerging modest fashion market and the work of a new generation of fashion designers, retailers and bloggers offering stylish clothing and fashion advice to Muslim women. At the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia, until February 2013.

A translucent raincoat made of seal intestines. An artfully sewn vest of crocodile skin. A chic evening gown of rubber-coated thread. Lovers of art, style, and history alike will revel in the exhibition Fashion and The Field Museum Collection: Maria Pinto. This thoughtful presentation showcases clothing masterworks from the Museum’s collections, selected by esteemed Chicago fashion designer Maria Pinto. These works are presented in tandem with contemporary pieces created by Pinto herself and displayed exclusively at The Field Museum.  On view through June 16, 2013.

London's V&A museum is mounting David Bowie is, a major retrospective exploring the creative processes of Bowie as a musical innovator and cultural icon, tracing his shifting style and sustained reinvention across five decades. From March 23 to July 28, 2013 more than 300 objects will be on view, including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, musical instruments and album artwork.  Also included are Ziggy Stardust costumes designed by Freddie Burretti in 1972; costumes from the 1973 Aladdin Sane tour, designed by Kansai Yamamoto; and Bowie and Alexander McQueen’s collaborative Union Jack coat, as worn on the 1997 Earthling cover. Drool.

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 features more than two dozen gowns from
Dolley Madison Dolley Madison's embroidered silk
satin open robe with hand-embroidery, late 1810s.
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.