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Comme des Garons

Fairy Tale Fashion

Special Exhibitions Gallery
January 15 – April 16, 2016 

Cinderella is famously distinguished from her stepsisters by her delicate slippers (made of gold, glass, or fur, depending on the version and translation of the tale), but it is her lavish ball gown that first catches the prince's eye. While Cinderella is probably the fairy tale most frequently associated with clothing, many others, including Beauty and the Beast, Furrypelts, The Little Mermaid, and The Wizard of Oz, use descriptions of dress to portray their characters transformation, vanity, power, or privilege. These descriptions of clothing also serve to enhance the sense of wonder and fantasy that is integral to the fairy tale genre.

Fairy Tale Fashion uses some of the most extraordinary, beautiful, and luxurious examples of fashion to illustrate fifteen fairy tales, including well-known tales such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood. In addition to offering a brief history of the fairy tales and their significance, the show highlights their direct references to fashion. There are more than 80 looks in Fairy Tale Fashion , including a number of recent creations from labels such as Comme des Garçons, Dolce and Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Rodarte, and Undercover.

Read more about the exhibition.

Image: Comme des Garçons, Spring 2015. Photograph courtesy of Comme des Garçons. 


Denim: Fashion's Frontier

Denim: Fashion's Frontier


Fashion & Textile History Gallery
December 1, 2015 – May 7, 2016


Denim has become one of the world's most beloved fabrics. According to anthropologist Daniel Miller, "On any given day, nearly half the worlds population is in jeans." The cultural significance of this has yet to be fully determined. Denim: Fashion's Frontier explores the dynamic history of denim and its relationship with high fashion from the 19th century to the present. The exhibition traces denim from its origins in work wear of the 19th century, through its role as a symbol of counterculture rebellion in America, to its acceptance into mainstream culture. It culminates with the arrival of blue jeans as luxury items during the late 20th century, and denim's subsequent deconstruction by contemporary designers through postmodern pastiche and experimentation.

Alongside this chronology, Denim: Fashion's Frontier highlights important points of engagement between high fashion and denim that are often left out of typical denim histories. Themes addressed include the role of advertising in creating popular mythologies, as well as issues of distressing, connoisseurship, and environmental concerns. The goal is to shed new light on one of the worlds most popular types of clothing, and to explore how a particular style of woven cotton has come to dominate the clothing industry.

Read more about the exhibition.

Image: Junya Watanabe dress, repurposed denim, spring 2002, Japan, museum purchase, 2010.37.12. Photograph by William Palmer.