Save The Date: “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Exhibition Dates: May 4–September 4, 2017

Member Previews: May 2–May 3, 2017

Exhibition Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, Floor 2

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute spring 2017 exhibition, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, on view from May 4 through September 4, will examine Kawakubo’s fascination with the space between boundaries. This in-between space is revealed in Kawakubo’s work as an aesthetic sensibility, establishing an unsettling zone of oscillating visual ambiguity that challenges conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. Not a traditional retrospective, this thematic exhibition will be The Costume Institute’s first monographic show on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983.

9

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Cubisme, spring/summer 2007; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Craig McDean

7

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). 18th-Century Punk, autumn/winter 2016–17; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

In blurring the art/fashion divide, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director of The Met. “Curator Andrew Bolton will explore work that often looks like sculpture in an exhibition that will challenge our ideas about fashion’s role in contemporary culture.”

10

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Inside Decoration, autumn/winter 2010–11; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Craig McDean

The exhibition will feature approximately 150 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear designs for Comme des Garçons, dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection. Objects will be organized into eight dominant and recurring aesthetic expressions of interstitiality in Kawakubo’s work: Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Design/Not Design, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes. Kawakubo breaks down the imaginary walls between these dualisms, exposing their artificiality and arbitrariness. Her fashions demonstrate that interstices are places of meaningful connection and coexistence as well as revolutionary innovation and transformation, providing Kawakubo with endless possibilities to rethink the female body and feminine identity.

2

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969); Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time. Continue reading

Now It Can Be Told: “Black Fashion Designers” At The Museum at FIT

Without dwelling too deeply on the root cause (for the moment), it’s very rare to find black fashion designers represented in a great many of the recent costume exhibitions at museums great and small across the United States. At this moment, if you want to see a decent and wide-ranging look at black fashion designers, you would have to visit the recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., where designs from Tracy Reese,  other black fashion designers and other creative men and women are on permanent display. The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27 Street, New York City 10001-5992), since 1975, has continuously work to create exhibitions, programs, and publications that are both entertaining and educational. Black Fashion Designer is eye-opening, entertaining and above all else, quite educational. It’s a good start.

mimi-plange-dress-spring-2013-usa-gift-of-mimi-plange-2016-49-1

Mimi Plange, dress, Spring 2013, USA, Gift of Mimi Plange, 2016.49.1

Black Fashion Designers, opening December 6, 2016 (Fashion & Textile History Gallery, December 6 – May 16, 2017) at The Museum at FIT, examines the significant, but often unrecognized, impact that designers of African descent have had on fashion. The exhibition features approximately 75 fashions by more than 60 designers. Although there have been exhibitions (few and far between) on individual black designers, this is the first major exhibition in many years that highlights the global history of black fashion designers from the 1950s to the present. All of the objects on display are part of the permanent collection of The Museum at FIT.

patrick-kelly-dress-fallwinter-1986-france-museum-purchase-2016-48-1

Patrick Kelly, dress, Fall/Winter 1986, France, Museum purchase, 2016.48.1

Black Fashion Designers opens with a fall 1986 evening dress by Patrick Kelly, embellished with vintage buttons. Buttons were a recurring motif for Kelly, whose grandmother would mend the family’s clothing. Alongside it is a fall 2012 ensemble by Nigerian-born, British designer Duro Olowu, whose knowledge of international textiles and affinity for mixing prints is evident in an intricate lace cape.

The introductory section of the exhibition also includes a beautiful wedding gown by society dressmaker Ann Lowe, who is best known for designing Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding dress. Lawrence Steele, a Milan-based African-American designer, is represented by a stunning black evening dress accented with Swarovski crystals. Lagos-based designer Amaka Osakwe was inspired by the rich history of Nigerian story-telling when creating her contemporary, cut-fringe dress. Another highlight is Laura Smalls’s red-and-white floral print dress—famously worn by First Lady Michelle Obama when she sang with rapper Missy Elliot on James Corden’s carpool karaoke.

ann-lowe-wedding-dress-1968-usa-gift-of-judith-a-tabler-2009-70-2

Ann Lowe, wedding dress, 1968, USA, Gift of Judith A. Tabler, 2009.70.2

Black Fashion Designers is organized into eight themes, beginning with “Breaking Into the Industry,” which examines black designers working in New York. During the 1950s and early 1960s, Arthur McGee and Wesley Tann challenged discrimination in the industry. Other designers followed in their footsteps, playing a major role in building New York as a fashion capital. During the 1970s and 1980s, for example, Willi Smith built a large, international fashion house from his quirky twists on classic sportswear, seen in a multicolored, striped ensemble. Today, Tracy Reese is an indispensable mainstay. Her multicolored striped gown shows her feminine and elegant style.

lawrence-steele-dress-spring-2002-italy-gift-of-lawrence-steele-2016-62-1

Lawrence Steele, dress, Spring 2002, Italy, Gift of Lawrence Steele, 2016.62.1

The next theme, “The Rise of the Black Designer,” focuses on the period from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, when disco music and dance clubs inspired fashion. Stephen Burrows’s gold evening pajamas and Scott Barrie’s black-and-red silk jersey wrap dress, defined the era’s glamorous, body-conscious style. The fashion and mainstream press of the 1970s celebrated black designers such as Burrows and Barrie, in contrast to today, when only one percent of the designers shown on VogueRunway.com are black. Continue reading

amfAR’s CINEMA AGAINST AIDS GALA RAISES A RECORD BREAKING $35 MILLION FOR RESEARCH TO FIGHT HIV/AIDS AND TO HELP FIND A CURE

EVENT SPONSORED BY WORLDVIEW ENTERTAINMENT, BOLD FILMS, BVLGARI, MERCEDES-BENZ and THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY

The 21st annual Cinema Against AIDS raised a record $35 million last night, helping amfAR in its continued fight against HIV/AIDS. The star-studded black-tie event was held at the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc and was presented by Worldview Entertainment, Bold Films, and BVLGARI.
CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 22:  Harvey Weinstein and Heidi Klum speak onstage during amfAR's 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d'Antibes, France.  (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for amfAR)

CAP D’ANTIBES, FRANCE – MAY 22: Harvey Weinstein and Heidi Klum speak onstage during amfAR’s 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d’Antibes, France. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for amfAR)

CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 22:  Dean Caten, Sharon Stone and Dan Caten attend amfAR's 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d'Antibes, France.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/amfAR14/WireImage)

CAP D’ANTIBES, FRANCE – MAY 22: Dean Caten, Sharon Stone and Dan Caten attend amfAR’s 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d’Antibes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/amfAR14/WireImage)

Since amfAR’s late Founding International Chairman Dame Elizabeth Taylor hosted the first Cinema Against AIDS in 1993, the event has become the most coveted ticket in Cannes. Past events have been chaired by amfAR Global Fundraising Chairman Sharon Stone, President Bill Clinton, Demi Moore, Sir Elton John, and Madonna, among many others.
Like the epidemic itself, AIDS research knows no borders. amfAR’s programs have had a global reach since 1986, when the Foundation began awarding international grants. Today, amfAR continues to fund HIV/AIDS researchers worldwide and works to translate their research into effective policy, prevention, and treatment programs around the globe.
CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 22:  (L-R) Eva Herzigova and Sharon Stone speak onstage during amfAR's 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d'Antibes, France.  (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

CAP D’ANTIBES, FRANCE – MAY 22: (L-R) Eva Herzigova and Sharon Stone speak onstage during amfAR’s 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d’Antibes, France. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 22:  Kellan Lutz attends amfAR's 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d'Antibes, France.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/amfAR14/WireImage)

CAP D’ANTIBES, FRANCE – MAY 22: Kellan Lutz attends amfAR’s 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 22, 2014 in Cap d’Antibes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/amfAR14/WireImage)

Sharon Stone was once again a Chair of the event, along with Harvey Weinstein, amfAR ambassador Milla Jovovich, Heidi Klum, BVLGARI Ambassador Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, Carine Roitfeld, amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole, Bulgari Group Chief Executive Officer Jean-Christophe Babin, amfAR Global Fundraising Ambassador Milutin Gatsby, Michel Litvak, Vincent Roberti, Remo Ruffini, Worldview Entertainment chairman and CEO Christopher Woodrow, and Worldview Entertainment COO Molly Conners.

Continue reading