MoMA puts first fashion exhibit in 70 years on display with Paola Antonelli, asking question “Is Fashion Modern”

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MoMA puts first fashion exhibit in 70 years on display with Paola Antonelli, asking question “Is Fashion Modern”

Blot photo by Amelia Johnson.

Blot photo by Amelia Johnson.

Blot photo by Amelia Johnson.

Blot photo by Amelia Johnson.

Julia Dwight

After 70 years, the Museum of Modern Art is re-entering the fashion world with its exhibition  “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” designed by senior curator Paola Antonelli. The installation, which the National Art Honor Society (NAHS) visited on Nov. 21, is the second of its kind in the museum’s history, with the title paying homage to its predecessor, “Are Clothes Modern?” said Alexandra Lange of The New Yorker.

The exhibition includes 111 pieces that showcase decades of evolution in fashion. Visitors can find everything from a 1940s zoot suit to futuristic plastic headpieces by Anne van Galen for her “Warriors of Downpour City” collection.

The exhibit also features examples of recent innovation in fashion, such as designer Richard Nicoll’s collaboration with Studio XO, an optic slip dress with LED strands.

NAHS member and senior Katie Gibson of Wall, who attended the NAHS trip to the MoMA, enjoyed the variety of fashion pieces.

“The exhibit completely exceeded my expectations,” Gibson said. “It was so large and diverse and had every type of clothing you could think of.”

In sharp contrast to the haute couture-centered Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which NAHS visited last year, the MoMA show also includes everyday wearable objects. These items, like a Hanes T-shirt and a surgical mask, appeared throughout the gallery. Many were common items that represent a period of American culture, such as a pair of original Converse sneakers.

Senior Michelle Etienne of Avon-by-the-Sea did not agree with the inclusion of these ordinary pieces.

“There were some things in there that I didn’t expect to see,” Etienne said. “Like a regular Champion jacket. Some of them just weren’t creative.”

The exhibition offered a wide range of both couture and everyday items spanning a century of American design. Featuring both culturally significant and technologically advanced pieces, visitors will find something unexpected around every corner.

“Items: Is Fashion Modern?” runs through Jan. 28, 2018 at the MoMA in Manhattan.

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