Items: Is Fashion Modern? Find out at MoMA’s first dedicated fashion exhibition since 1944

Items: Is Fashion Modern? at MoMA will highlight 111 iconic garments and accessories that have become paragons of design.

So, can you think of 111 garments and accessories that have had a profound effect on the world over the last century?

The crisp white tee, the essential leather biker jacket and classic Levi’s denim is just one timeless ensemble that instantly brings to mind James Dean, The T-Birds, Marlon Brando and The Outsiders, worn as a kind of uniform for generations by rebels and lovers from the wrong side of the tracks.

 I can think of at least two very bad examples of modern fashion, and you may disagree, but the Christian Audigier x Ed Hardy t-shirt blight (once worn by orange tinted douchebags everywhere) and the Crocs virus come to mind. However, from 1 October, 2017 until 28 January, 2018 you can wander the halls of a solidly packed sixth floor of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, get lost in time and make up your own mind. The exhibition will explore fashion thematically, displaying 111 powerful and enduring manifestations of the ways in which fashion touches everyone, everywhere. And while you’re there you can perhaps consider for a moment then that fewer people still are kissed by the sunshine of innate style. It’s not for everyone, but nor can it be.

White t-shirt and Y-3 interpreted for Items: Is Fashion Modern? by Kristin-Lee Moolman and IB Kamara. © 2017 Kristin-Lee Moolman & IB Kamara. Image courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Fashion, like other forms of design, is affected by politics and economics as much as it is aligned with style, technology, and culture. The Items exhibition questions what has made each article so significant in the last 100 years (for example how do flip flops or thongs in Australia, mind your manners, endure, when are they not to be worn and how do we make them work)? Throughout this exploration pieces will be presented with contextual images or videos to trace history and origins.

Major focus will be placed on ground breaking styles like the Little Black Dress, which will be shown in many different forms to fully explore the breadth of the concept’s impact, and around thirty items will be shown with a new prototype—a commissioned or loaned piece inspired by advancements in technology, social dynamics, aesthetics, or political awareness.

Items: Is Fashion Modern is on view at The Museum of Modern Art, New York from 1 October, 2017 until 28 January, 2018. Plan your visit to MoMA here.

Pictured at top: One-Star Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket, late 1950’s. Courtesy of Schott NYC
Items is organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, and Director of Research and Development; and Michelle Millar Fisher, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.

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