Fashion & Textile History Gallery
May 25 – November 17, 2018
Fashion Unraveled examines the concepts of imperfection and incompletion in fashion. Garments that are altered, unfinished, or deconstructed, in addition to clothing that shows signs of wear, highlights the aberrant beauty in flawed objects. Unless such imperfections are intentional — as they are in the case of deconstructed fashion — these garments are often overlooked in museum collections. This exhibition includes a selection of objects from the museum’s permanent collection, highlighting objects that are not only visually compelling, but that may also tell intriguing stories about their makers and/or wearers.
It is only in recent years that imperfect or inauthentic objects have been given greater consideration, as interest in their “biographies” has grown. Signs of repeated wear, shortened hemlines, and careful mends can be found even on haute couture garments, and they highlight the lasting economic and emotional worth of many clothes within museum collections. These findings — which are often unseen and unknown by museum visitors — challenge the concept of fashion as a strictly ephemeral, disposable commodity. Fashion Unraveled also reveals how the appearance of aged clothing, with its flaws and signs of decay, has been embraced by many designers as an aesthetic choice, furthering the reconstruction of notions about beauty and value in fashion.
Read more about Fashion Unraveled.Image: detail of ensemble by XULY.Bët, repurposed acrylic sweaters, fall 1994, gift of XULY.Bët.