Seven Decades of Style at Philadelphia Museum of Art | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Seven Decades of Style at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Designed by Carolina Herrera Woman's Wedding Dress Spring 2012, Striped silk satin Center Back Length: 8 feet 2 inches (248.9 cm) Center Front Length: 49 1/4 inches (125.1 cm) Waist: 26 inches (66 cm), Gift of Rachel Frishberg Press, 2013,
(Courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art)

On view from October 16 is an exhibition that highlights over seven decades of fashion titled “Fabulous Fashion: From Dior's New Look to Now” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The show features visually compelling and significant works from the museum’s costumes and textiles collection. “The haute couture and ready-to-wear garments and accessories on view range in date from 1947 — the year of the introduction of Christian Dior’s revolutionary ‘New Look’ — to recent ensembles by audacious designer Bernhard Willhelm,” the museum says.

The exhibition presents many new acquisitions and other works that have rarely been on display before.

The highlights include iconic works such as Adrian’s 1947 velvet “winged victory” gown, an understated black-and-white 1972 Chanel suit, and Geoffrey Beene’s 1994 silver lame “Mercury” dress. Also part of the installation are: Paco Rabanne’s dress made of plastic discs linked by metal rings (from his 1966 collection titled “Twelve Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials”) and a punk-inspired ensemble by Zandra Rhodes from her 1977-78 “Conceptual Chic” collection, the museum says.

Arranged thematically “Fabulous Fashion” explores how designer’s used elements such as color and pattern, shape and volume, draping, metallics, bridal traditions and innovations, and exquisite embellishments. It also focuses on fashion as an art form. “Works are grouped together that offer striking visual comparisons and demonstrate the relentlessly creative spirit of fashion,” the museum says. “The show opens with a pair of ensembles from fifty years apart, each embodying fashion-forward dressing for its time. Dior’s two-piece pale pink satin day dress from 1948, with a nipped-in waist and full skirt that epitomizes the ultra-feminine ‘New Look,’ contrasts with a flirtatious hot pink fur-collared wool suit designed in 1998 by John Galliano for the house of Dior.”

Section on ballgowns and evening wear illustrates the use of shape and volume with works by designers such as Pierre Cardin, Jean Desses, Roberto Capucci, and Oscar de la Renta. “Two flamenco-inspired dresses — one designed by Cristobal Balenciaga in 1951 and the other by Patrick Kelly in 1988 — reflect how each designer’s unique heritage informed the reinterpretation of a traditional form,” the museum adds.

Juxtapositions abound throughout the exhibition from Anne Fogarty in a strapless evening dress that makes use of gold embroidered net in contrast to a gold lame mini dress from the late 1980s by Vicky Tiel. “Also part of the exhibition are a selection of bridal gowns and Grace Kelly’s wedding headpiece and shoes, as well as her bridal manual, all covered with lace and accented with seed pearls, are also featured in this section,” the museum says.

“Fabulous Fashion: From Dior's New Look to Now” runs from October 16, 2018, through March 3, 2019, at Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130, USA.

For details, visit:

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.

Founder: Louise Blouin