Domestic Affairs: March Madness (the Fashion Studies version)



February, March and April are turning out to be very busy months for fashion exhibitions and events. It’s the sort of situation that makes me very angry at Star Trek: they promised me the future would have teleportation, after all.

Registration has begun for the 2014 Costume Society of America’s National Symposium, in Baltimore this year, celebrating 40 years of CSA.

The Italian Futurism exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York city, is entering its third week, and features a few lovely garments and textiles; while at the Museum at FIT, Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s is entering its second month. Given my love for all things material culture of the 1920s and 30s, words cannot describe how much I wish I could see these two. The Museum at FIT’s Trendology exhibition will also be up until 30 April.

Also in New York, the American Folk Art Museum‘s Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art exhibition will be up until 23 April. Jessica Sofia Mitrani: Headpieces for Peace closes this month at the French Institute: Alliance Française.

At the MFA in Boston, their exhibition, Think Pinkexplores the changing meaning of ‘pink’ in both art and fashion. The exhibition opened in October last year and will be up through the end of May.

If you missed the costumes at FIDM Museum’s Television costume show this past summer — or if you’re just suffering withdrawals, now season four has ended — the Costumes of Downton Abbey show will be up at the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library until January 2015. I saw them when I was in LA the end of this past summer and they are truly beautiful pieces.

Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392 – 1910 opened this weekend at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, showing 150 objects of which many have never before been seen outside Korea, including several examples of dress and textiles. I’m very excited about this exhibition’s next stop in its US tour: LACMA. While I was a Japanese studies major in my undergraduate work, I’ve always preferred the artwork and textile arts of Korea so I will definitely be making a trip to Los Angeles to see it. Look for my review this summer!

At the Wilshire May Company in Los Angeles, Diane von Furstenberg’s 40th Anniversary show, Journey of a Dress, is in its last month.

Last but not least, I received an invitation to the opening of Hollywood Costume at the Phoenix Art Museum on 26 March. Oh how I wish I could go! But perhaps I will find a way to make it to Arizona before the exhibition closes on 6 July…

Have any of you been to any of these exhibitions? What did you think? Are there any other events that you think our readers should know about? Is there anything I missed? Please share your thoughts and impressions in the comments below, or email me with announcements!

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  • Virginia Postrel March 07, 2014 05.59 pm

    Also worth mentioning is the “Hollywood Red Carpet,” the exhibition Dennita Sewell, the fashion curator at the Phoenix Art Museum, is putting together to complement Hollywood Costume. By displaying red carpet gowns, it will highlight both their influence on fashion and their contrast to costuming: “the actress’s polished red carpet appearance is often dramatically different from the way she appears as the character in the movie that earned her the nomination for “supporting” or “best” actress.”

    It’s interesting to think about to what extent the red carpet persona is itself a character in costume. Kerry Washington, for instance, has talked about creating “Red Carpet Kerry” as a way of building her public image.


  • Brenna March 07, 2014 07.45 pm

    Thank you so much, Virginia!


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