Fashion & Textile History Gallery
May 28 – November 16, 2019
Fashion is a world of extremes, where sartorial expression ranges from minimalist to maximalist aesthetics. Some designers may identify almost exclusively with one over the other; Calvin Klein, for instance, was known for fashion minimalism. However, the cyclical nature of fashion moves us through design periods alternately dominated by a minimalist or maximalist aesthetic, re-affirming Isaac Newton’s third law of motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
In fashion, minimalism and maximalism define two extremes along the design spectrum. Minimalism, the aesthetic of less-is-more, is based on a reductive approach to design, and celebrates purity and restraint. Maximalism, on the other hand, accentuates the beauty of excess and redundancy. While these may be considered aesthetic opposites, both seek to challenge perception, and as forms of expression, they serve as indicators of the sociocultural and economic zeitgeist of the given time period. Minimalism/Maximalism explores the interplay between minimalist and maximalist aesthetics as they have been and continue to be expressed through fashion. Beginning in the eighteenth century, the exhibition examines how these aesthetic viewpoints are expressed over time and move fashion forward.
Read more about Minimalism/Maximalism.Image: Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, dress, spring/summer 2014, Madrid, gift of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada. 2014.44.1