1. How truly daring Yves (if we may call him that so as not to confuse the man with the house) was: he promoted diversity on the runway long before it was de rigueur to do so; he made gender bending extremely fashionable, both through iconic designs like his Le Smoking suit and his cultivation of his own dashing feminine qualities (captured in Jeanloup Sieff’s famous nude photo of the designer in the ’70s on display at SAM); he reinvented and restored his career and himself after early setbacks and recurring bouts with depression and addiction.
2. How much our current fashion climate relies on ground he cultivated: ready-to-wear and diffusion lines, street-level boutiques, streetwear trends applied to couture, his collaborations with It girls and celebrities, his ability to read the zeitgeist and design a uniform for it.
3. How much better we should dress the next time we decide to pay homage to one of the 20th century’s most brilliant designers. Honestly, wearing jeans, a sweater and boots to this exhibit felt like sinning while approaching the altar to receive communion.
As we’ve thought more about Yves’s (we’re on a first name basis by now, surely) decadent, decades-defining career and life, we’ve also thought how fun it would have been to be one of the fabulous women (a Betty Catroux, a Loulou de la Falaise, a—dare we dream—Catherine Deneuve) in his orbit, one whom he dressed like he did his childhood paper dolls. And if so, what would he have selected for us? Here are our best guesses among modern YSL pieces, though no doubt Yves would have had something surprising up his impeccable sleeve.
For its spring exhibition, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art examines handcrafted and mechanical manufacturing in fashion, with an exhibit gift shop curated by Nordstrom VP of Creative Projects Olivia Kim.
Fashion and technology are historically interwoven: Textile manufacturing was the major catalyst of the Industrial Revolution, introducing the ready-to-wear economy. Early computers borrowed from the punch card technology of the jacquard loom for their processors. Now, computer-aided design is a requisite fashion course for would-be designers.
The Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute presents an exploration of fashion manufacturing in Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology(May 5-August 14). Haute couture and prêt-à-porter designs are on display in the more than 100 pieces in this exhibit.
Men’s fashion has experienced a renaissance in recent years. Responding to demand, reportedly, the New York Times introduced its Men’s Style section last spring. Capitalizing on the frenzy around the international Fashion Weeks, this spring designer du jour Alessandro Michele announced that all future Gucci fashion shows would feature coed collections. Design houses including Tom Ford and Vetements seem to agree, also opting to mix their runways with male and female models. These moves can be seen as a leveling of the runway that acknowledges the growing menswear market. Designers like Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and Jonathan Saunders have taken note and jumped into the men’s fashion game.
Although the last three decades haven’t witnessed major revolutions in the way men dress, there’s no doubt that the world is paying attention to, and reporting on, the fact that men do. It’s no longer fair to say that fashion is a women’s-interest topic—or even that the gender division in fashion collections is relevant. A new exhibit at LACMA opening April 10 provides rooms of historical evidence to counter the claim that fashion was ever singly a feminine pursuit.
One example from the Revolution/Evolution section shows how the sans-culotte pants of the French revolutionaries and the tartan trousers of the Malcolm McLaren-era punks were both identifiers of a rebellious tribe. This room also includes a rare complete zoot suit. The suits were outlawed during World War II ostensibly because of the exorbitant amount of fabric they required. Mention of the Los Angeles Zoot Suit Riots of 1943 shows how clothing marks marginalized and youth groups for social stigmatization and persecution.
Comme des Garçons (Junya Watanabe) dress, repurposed denim, Spring 2002, Japan,
museum purchase. Photograph: William Palmer.
Once the uniform of gold prospectors and laborers, denim has become the go-to workday and weekend getup for most everyone. Anthropologist Danny Miller estimated that about half the world’s population—including countries as diverse as Turkey, India and Brazil—wears dungarees on any given day. Even the runways the last two seasons have swelled with oceans of indigo.
Just as denim is having yet another moment, The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology is opening an exhibit (beginning December 1) examining the fabric’s place in fashion history. With over 70 denim constructions from the museum’s collection, Denim: Fashion’s Frontiertakes a long (almost two centuries) look at the ways and reasons jeans have wooed the world. Featuring denim jumpsuits worn in factories during World War II and Tom Ford’s notoriously expensive plumed pair for Gucci, Denim shows how this is truly the fabric of our diverse lives.
Roberto Cavalli ensemble, embroidered denim, Spring 2003, Italy,
gift of Roberto Cavalli. Photograph courtesy of The Museum at FIT.
Culture Map is everywhere Nordstrom is, mapping out the best in arts, events and happenings.
Impeccable tailoring. Inspired design. Industrious creativity. These are a few of the many traits that make up the DNA of the best Italian fashion houses. We’re proud to present two U.S. exhibitions organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London that explore the work of Italy’s most iconic couturiers from the end of World War II until today.
If you’re in the Portland or Nashville area, get up close with some gorgeous examples of women’s fashion and menswear created by the greats and worn by the enviable likes of Audrey Hepburn and Princess Stanislaus Radziwill at Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball. Read on for more images and exhibition details.
Saturday night we partied at the Brooklyn Museum to help kick off its newest exhibition, Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe. From the mid-seventeenth century to the modern day, the exhibit features some of the most want-worthy shoes ever created—like Marilyn Monroe’s Ferragamo stilettos and Lady Gaga’s 8-inch platform booties.
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.
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.