“Once upon a time the fairy tales begin. But then they end and often you don’t know really what has happened, what was meant to happen, you only know what you’ve been told, what the words suggest,” wrote Joyce Carol Oates. Perhaps it is for this reason, because they are both malleable and imposing, that these old stories have woven themselves thoroughly into our cultures. Again and again, they are revisited and reinterpreted and rewritten to reflect—or rebuke—the present.
Usually we puzzle over their endings; they seem arbitrary and sudden, not at all circumstances conducive to the stability of a Happily Ever After. That end is often where our fantasies begin. In revivals and epilogues—written by great writers like Roald Dahl, Stephen Sondheim and Margaret Atwood—the characters live on to confront new challenges.
Cinderella’s glass slipper, the Mirror on the Wall, Red Riding Hood’s cape: fashion often provides a plot point in fairy tales. Great designers, too, have reinterpreted these tales. The newest exhibit at the Museum at FIT/Fashion Institute of Technology, Fairy Tale Fashion, opening January 15, explores how designers have visited these classic stories in clothes. A peek inside this storybook collection of couture and historical pieces is at the link.
After stops from Madrid to San Francisco, the highly talked-about Jean Paul Gaultier retrospective, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, has finally made its East Coast debut at the Brooklyn Museum. In honor of the occasion, WSJ magazine hosted a special evening for the Parisian designer, who was on hand to discuss his iconic career and avant-garde point of view.
Exhibit curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot (left) and Jean Paul Gaultier joined WSJ magazine editor-in-chief Kristina O’Neill for an intimate panel discussion about their inspiration for the exhibition.
Enter the Hôtel Scribe in Paris’ Opéra district, where the black-and-white photographs of Gérard Musy line the walls in ‘Back to Backstage,’ a rare exhibit that captures behind-the-scenes moments in fashion.
In the late 1980s, Musy became an industry pioneer, snapping the first images of the flip side of fashion, better known as the backstage. The Swiss photographer ditched the podium for a tightly filled room that few had access to and zoomed in on the beauty amidst the chaos. He moved his lens away from the clothes to expose the heart and emotion of the then-unknown supermodels who were wearing them—from Linda Evangelista to Iman.
Get a sneak peek at the secret side of the shows from Musy’s point of view.
Our favorite nonagenarian style icon, Iris Apfel is making headlines again. The Boston Globe reports that she’s donating over 600 articles of clothing and accessories (we’re talking the likes of Lagerfeld, Dior, McQueen) to the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts.
All 600 enviable pieces were already lent to the museum during its 2009 exhibition, “Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel.” After reading the news of her collection’s permanent return to the museum, we thought it a perfect time to open our treasure chest and relive our interview with Apfel—shot as she as she marked the exhibition’s opening by styling our Nordstrom Northshore windows.
“If you can have one good little black dress and have a lot of accessories, you can change the look of the dress, and you can have umpteen outfits and always look good.”—Iris Apfel
The de Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Nordstrom present The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, showing now through August 19.
With 140 haute couture and ready-to-wear designs, along with sketches, archival documents, photography and video clips, this exhibition showcases the masterful craftsmanship and rebellious spirit of fashion’s “enfant terrible“, starting from the launch of his first collection in 1976.
We were thrilled to speak with Gaultier about his works on display, his design philosophy and his thoughts on beauty and individuality.
Not that we need an excuse to go back to Venice (though this time we know to pack the Dramamine for any all-day canal tours), but this exhibit is a definite motivator. The life and work of Diana Vreeland—one of the 20th century’s most influential tastemakers—is now on display at Palazzo Fortuny.
Starting her industry career as a fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, and moving on to Vogue as editor in chief for almost a decade, Vreeland helped to revolutionize the world of fashion. The exhibit celebrates Vreeland and her contributions to the industry, and displays a collection that drops the names of the era’s most important designers and couture.
Take a look inside the incredible closet of fashion powerhouse Ann Bonfoey Taylor, now on display at the Phoenix Art Museum.
Ann Bonfoey Taylor, Photography by Toni Frissell
A one-woman show is a rarity for fashion exhibitions, if only because few women own wardrobes vast and intriguing enough. But Ann Bonfoey Taylor’s closets fit the bill, and, lucky for us, the entire contents of that closet were given to the Phoenix Art Museum by Bonfoey Taylor’s family. “Fashion Independendent: The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor” is showing now through May 29, featuring the incredible stockpile of iconic pieces and haute couture of just one woman.
The exhibition displays names like Givenchy, Charles James and Madame Grès, as well as an unparalleled selection of pieces from the leading designers of the ‘40s through the ’60s. The show’s 60 full ensembles (including an astounding 13 Balenciaga originals) showcase the unique style of a woman who skied for the United States in the Olympics, taught pilots to fly in WWII and hosted an endless line of impeccable parties—all while looking completely elegant and perfectly herself.