University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "African Fashion"

A NEW CROP OF NIGERIAN DESIGNERS

Looks from Mai Atafo. (Photo Credit: Mai Atafo)

Nigeria, the vibrant heartbeat of Africa, is a kaleidoscope of cultures, colors, and creativity. It is home to the second largest film industry on the globe while also being the fashion, technological and creative hub of Africa, according to Nigeria’s tourism site. In recent years, a new wave of fashion designers have emerged, infusing traditional Nigerian aesthetics with contemporary flair and global appeal. There have been plenty of rising fashion designers coming out of Africa, here we will highlight a few from the new crop of fashion darlings – Mai Atafo, Banke Kuku, Cute-Saint, Dye Lab by Rukky Ladoja, and Eki Kere – all of whom are redefining Nigerian fashion and captivating the world with their unique styles.

A display from Brooklyn Museum’s Africa Fashion exhibition in 2023. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

“Currently the global fashion community is looking to the African continent for more than inspiration,” said Ernestine White-Mifetu, the Sills Foundation curator of African art at the Brooklyn Museum, in an interview with NYT. “The fashion world at large is finally ready to pay attention.”

MAI ATAFO

A look from Mai Atafo. (Photo Credit: Ebuka Mordi)

With a penchant for luxury and sophistication, Mai Atafo stands as a beacon of haute couture in Nigeria. His designs are a seamless blend of classic elegance and modern glamour, appealing to fashionistas both locally and internationally. From meticulously tailored suits to breathtaking bridal gowns, Atafo’s creations exude timeless charm and impeccable craftsmanship.

Atafo’s influence extends beyond the runway; he is also a mentor and advocate for emerging designers, nurturing talent and promoting excellence within the Nigerian fashion industry. With his eponymous label, Mai Atafo continues to elevate Nigerian fashion to new heights, one exquisite ensemble at a time.

BANKE KUKU

A look from Banke Kuku. (Photo Credit: Bella Naija)

For Banke Kuku, fabric is her canvas, and she paints with an eclectic palette of colors and patterns. Drawing inspiration from Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and her Yoruba roots, Kuku’s designs celebrate traditional Nigerian textiles while infusing them with a contemporary twist.

Each piece by Banke Kuku tells a story, weaving together intricate motifs and bold prints to create wearable works of art. From silky pajama-inspired looks to statement accessories, her collections exude a sense of joy and individuality, inspiring women to embrace their heritage with pride and style.

CUTE-SAINT

Looks from Cute-Saint. (Photo Credit: Cute-Saint)

In the fast-paced world of streetwear, Femi Ajose, the designer behind the label Cute-Saint is making waves with his bold, edgy designs that push boundaries and defy conventions with his genderless collections. He has a finger on the pulse of urban culture, Ajose’s aesthetic is raw, rebellious, and unapologetically Nigerian.

From graphic tees adorned with Afrocentric motifs to oversized jackets, Ajose’s creations for Cute-Saint resonate with a younger audience seeking authenticity and self-expression. His brand reflects the dynamism of Nigerian youth culture, celebrating diversity and individuality in all its forms. The designer also has sustainability on his mind as all his creations are made in Nigeria with dead stock fabric that comes from prior collections or has been found at the city’s famous Yaba market.

DYE LAB BY RUKKY LADOJA

Rukky Ladoja on Building a Socially Responsible Nigerian Fashion Brand Dye Lab. (Photo Credit: Okay Africa)

In an era of eco-consciousness, Rukky Ladoja is leading the charge for sustainable fashion in Nigeria with her brand, Dye Lab. Using traditional dyeing techniques and natural materials, Ladoja creates vibrant, one-of-a-kind garments that are as kind to the planet as they are stylish.

From tie-dye dresses to hand-painted skirts, every piece from Dye Lab is a testament to Ladoja’s commitment to ethical fashion. By championing sustainable practices and supporting local artisans, she is paving the way for a more environmentally friendly future for Nigerian fashion.

EKI KERE

Nigerian Actress Nancy Isime Stuns in Eki Kere. (Photo Credit: Fashion Ghana)

With her free-spirited designs and bohemian aesthetic, Abasiekeme Ukanireh, the designer behind the label Eki Kere, captures the essence of wanderlust and adventure. Drawing inspiration from her travels across Africa and beyond, Ukanireh ‘s collections are a tapestry of cultures, textures, and colors.

From flowing kaftans to embellished headpieces, Ukanireh’s designs for Eki Kere’s evoke a sense of wanderlust and whimsy, transporting wearers to far-flung destinations with each piece. Her brand embodies the spirit of exploration and self-discovery, inviting fashion lovers to embrace their inner nomad and journey beyond the ordinary.

 

Remember to view UoF’s lessons on West African textiles.

So, tell us, do you think Africa can become the next fashion destination?

OUT OF AFRICA: AFRICAN DESIGNERS ARE FINALLY ON THE FASHION MAP

Models holding hands, Lagos, Nigeria, 2019 by Stephen Tayo. Courtesy Lagos Fashion Week Africa. (Photo Credit: Forbes)

African fashion, along with the continent’s music and art, is having an huge impact on the world stage — and at UoF, we’re here to support it.

Did you know that Nigeria ranks in the top 5 countries of UoF subscribers! 

International superstars like Naomi Campbell, Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross, Angela Bassett, and Beyoncé have helped catapult some of Africa’s talented fashion designers into the limelight. In fact, Queen B wore a number of African designers in the 2020 American musical film and visual album, Black Is King, directed, written, and executive produced by the recording artist. But the African fashion industry has had to jump lots of hurdles to get here.

The Suppression of Africa’s Fashion Industry

According to the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, Africa, like many other developing countries, has been plagued with the importation of used clothes and shoes from outside the region. This practice created an unfair advantage in local communities and thus stifled industrial growth, especially in Africa’s design and manufacturing sector. Despite imposing high importation customs duty rates in some African countries, used products continued to flood local markets. The textile industry in South Africa all but collapsed as a result of imported second-hand clothing sales and eventually efforts got underway in other African states to prevent the same thing from happening. In 2015, the Zimbabwe government banned the importation of second-hand clothes and shoes and removed the general import license so that future importations were subject to seizure and destruction. In 2016, The East African Council (EAC) Council of Ministers, composed of six countries in the African Great Lakes region, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, voted to ban second-hand clothes, handbags and shoes, to promote the region’s textile and leather industries. These measures paved the way for Africa’s fashion industry to succeed.

Beyoncé wearing a look from Loza Maléombho in the singer’s Black Is King film. (Photo Credit: Disney Plus)

Historically, the relationship between the global fashion industry and Africa has been indisputably problematic, filled with disrespect, cultural exploitation, and appropriation. From the exploitation of Ankara textiles — West Africa’s most recognizable fabric — to western fashion houses profiting from the creations of local African artisans and designers, the line between inspiration and plagiarism has become blurred.

According to Dr. Shameem Black, from the Department of Gender, Media and Cultural studies at the Australian National University, “borrowing from other cultures becomes problematic when historical context and cultural sensitivities are ignored.” By calling out designers who exploit another culture’s traditions has enabled African designers to use their rich history, culture and textiles to gain world-wide attention.

Ankara Fabrics. (Photo Credit: Waa Fashion)

Africa’s Fashion Capital

In just the past few years Lagos, Nigeria has become Africa’s fashion capital. Recognized by some of the world’s most renowned fashion editors and industry insiders, Lagos Fashion Week, and Arise Fashion Week in particular, has earned supermodel Naomi Campbell’s seal of approval. The supermodel made her debut walking the Arise Fashion Week runway in 2018 and returned in 2019, taking on a curatorial role. Emerging designers across the continent have also made their way onto the global stage. Nigerian designers Adebayo Oke-Lawal and Kenneth Ize, were both finalists for the LVMH Prize in 2014 and 2019 respectively, as well as South African designer Thebe Magugu, who actually won the Prize in 2019. For those unfamiliar with the LVMH Prize, it is a prestigious award given to young fashion designers by reputable designers in the industry.

Naomi Campbell walks Kenneth Ize’s fashion show at Arise Fashion Week in 2019. (Photo Credit: Kenneth Ize)

African fashion no longer needs the ‘approval’ of the global industry, because they are now  a force to be reckoned with on their own. Sparking this evolution are trailblazing young African designers who have taken the initiative to create innovative work that tell stories and break stereotypes, while at the same time preserving age-old techniques, as they simultaneously build viable global fashion businesses.

These creatives not only deserve props for their spectacular work, but they are  changemakers in their own right, helping to uplift Africa’s developing economy, standing up for equality, climate action, and setting a new standard for all African designers, thus ensuring their place in the global fashion world.

How to describe African design? African design is audacious and revolutionary. Nigeria’s Adebayo Oke-Lawal and Fola Francis are designers who are pushing boundaries and challenging gender stereotypes. Meanwhile, Congolese designer Anifa Mvuemba is credited as being the first designer to curate a 3D virtual fashion show for her brand, Hanifa, which went viral in 2021.

According to Statista (a German company specializing in market and consumer data), the fashion industry is the fourth largest industry in the world with global revenue in 2021 worth $1.5 trillion. Therefore, the success of the African fashion industry could have a huge impact on that continent’s economy, especially since they have the highest rate of poverty in the world. A robust African fashion industry could exponentially alter their lives.

As the fashion industry thrives in Africa, there will be more employment opportunities, investments in development and increased global recognition, not only for fashion designers, but also for the local tailors, artisans and entrepreneurs. Many fashion brands in Africa are now creating programs to provide resources, support community growth, and empower citizens who want to work in the fashion industry.

UoF is playing a part in their success 

Here are just a few globally recognized African fashion brands that are making a difference:

AHLUWALIA

Looks from Ahluwalia’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Priye Ahluwalia, founder of the brand Ahluwalia, was born in London to a Nigerian father and an Indian mother. Drawing inspiration from both her Nigerian and Indian heritage, she designs award-winning ready-to-wear menswear.

Ahluwalia was one of the recipients of the prestigious LMVH prize in 2020 and the following year won the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. Ahluwalia’s label also focuses on being environmentally friendly using vintage and dead-stock (discontinued and vintage items that are no longer in stock) clothing for a number of her creations.

THEBE MAGUGU

Looks from Thebe Magugu’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Thebe Magugu founded his luxury namesake collection in 2016. Through fashion, the South African fashion designer tells the stories of his heritage and culture while bringing important issues into the limelight. In his past collections, he has made commentary on sexism in South Africa, South Africa’s apartheid past, and femicide — with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa describing gender-based violence as “the second pandemic we are confronting” in November 2020.

Magugu primarily designs exquisite ready-to-wear clothing for women.

In 2018, Magugu won the LVMH prize and has since been featured in a variety of magazines including Vogue.

ORANGE CULTURE

A look from Orange Culture’s Spring 2022 Show. (Photo Credit: Orange Culture)

Orange Culture was founded in 2011 by Adebayo Oke-Lawal, a Nigerian fashion designer. His beginnings are those of a true millennial, as Oke-Lawal has been designing clothes since he was only eleven years old and is self taught. Today, Oke-Lawal is one of the most prestigious designers in Africa.

The brand Orange Culture is best known for their innovative menswear, which has been worn by African celebrities like Global Citizen advocate Davido, Rita Dominic, and Ice Prince. It was also the first Nigerian brand to sell their clothing at the iconic UK department store, Selfridges.

Through the brand’s Orange Mentorship program, they provide mentorship and resources to young fashion designers throughout Africa to help them build their fashion empire.

HANIFA

Looks from Hanifa’s Spring 2022 Digital Show. (Photo Credit: Hanifa)

Anifa Mvuemba is a Congolese designer best known for her viral 3D fashion show that combined two passions, fashion and technology, in an epic presentation of her brand, Hanifa, during the height of COVID-19 in 2021.

Mvuemba founded Hanifa 10 years ago and the brand has since become known for its mesmerizing size inclusive ready-to-wear. Her debut show was held at the National Portrait Gallery on Nov. 16, 2021 Washington, D.C. with over 20,000 people streaming the show on YouTube.

This talented designer is also the founder of The Hanifa Dream, a program that empowers women-owned organizations that “elevate fashion through passion, purpose, and social impact.

CHRISTIE BROWN

Looks from Christie Brown’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christie Brown)

Aisha Ayensu is a Ghanaian fashion designer and the creative director for the label Christie Brown, which was founded in March 2008.

The luxury brand, named after Ayensu’s grandmother, creates innovative and exceptional women’s ready-to-wear apparel and accessories. Ayensu reimagines traditional clothing and gives them a modern twist.

TONGORO

Looks from Tongoro’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tongoro)

Tongoro is a ready-to-wear womenswear brand that produces playful and unique apparel. The label was founded in 2016 by Sarah Diof, a woman of Senegalese, Central African, and Congolese heritage. The fashion company’s headquarters are in Dakar, Senegal. Tongoro sources their materials from artisans across Africa, and Diof primarily works with local tailors as a way of fostering the economic development of artisans throughout Africa.

IMANE AYISSI

A look from Imane Ayissi’s Couture Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Show Studio)

Imane Ayissi is not only a fashion designer but is also a model and a dancer. Pryor to starting his fashion label, Ayissi was a sought-after model who walked for luxury fashion houses like Dior, Givenchy, Valentino, YSL and Lanvin.

The Cameroonian designer draws inspiration from cultures all over the African continent. Ayissi not only creates luxurious ready-to-wear pieces, but he is also an advocate for environmentally friendly fashion and often uses natural and organic materials that make the least amount of impact to the environment.

AFRICA FASHION EXHIBITION

Africa Fashion exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (Photo Credit: V&A Museum)

If you happen to be ion London between now and April 16, 2023, then be sure to catch the Africa Exhibit at the V & A Museum which spans iconic mid-20th century to contemporary creatives through photographs, textiles, music and the visual arts.

And…

Speaking of textiles, we recently launched two lessons in our 5-part series on West African textiles by Mina Dia-Stevens. Broaden your knowledge of Africa and learn about the Faso Dan Fani Cloth of Burkina Faso and the Bògòlanfini textiles of Mali. 

So, tell us, do you know of  other African designers you’d like to share with us?

MUSEUMS ARE CRAZY FOR FASHION: FIND OUT WHY

The Met’s Costume Institute “In America An Anthology of Fashion” tells the untold stories of American Fashion. (Photo Credit: Fashionista)

Beat the heat this summer and head over to your local museum, you might just find a fascinating fashion exhibit to check out. After all, museums have discovered that fashion brings in “visitors/customers/patrons” and money. With museum closures during the pandemic, what better way to lure visitors back in than to host a fashion exhibition?  One only needs to look at the number of fashion exhibits that brought in the BIG bucks and that made the MET’s Top 10 Most Visited Exhibitions: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination (2018) attracted 1,659,647 visitors;  China: Through the Looking Glass (2015) with 815,992; Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology (2016) with 752,995 and the Alexander McQueen Retrospective: Savage Beauty (2011) which brought in 661,509 visitors. Add up all of those ticket sales and there you have it, not to mention the number of new patrons that are drawn to shows like these.

Where once only big city museums staged fashion exhibitions, now pretty much any museum can mount one. For example, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) just announced a partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in America’s heartland, Bentonville, Arkansas. Joining the celebration of its inaugural fashion exhibit, Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour, the exhibit will feature over 90 designers and iconic American labels from September 10, 2022 to January 30, 2023.

And, if you find yourself in San Diego, be sure to check out the Mengei International Museum, a museum founded in 1974 dedicated to preserving folk art, craft and design. Their current exhibition entitled Fold-Twist-Tie: Paper Bag Hats by moses, features the most incredible hats made from the ubiquitous brown paper bag.

Brown Paper Bag Hat called the Shangri-la,  by designer/artist moses, at the Mengei International Museum San Diego.

If you find yourself in Austin, Texas on August 14th, visit the Blanton Museum of Art to view their new show entitled, Painted Cloth: Fashion and Ritual in Colonial Latin America. According to the museum, the exhibit “addresses the social roles of textiles and their visual representations in different media produced in Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela during the 1600s and 1700s. Beyond emphasizing how aesthetic traditions of European and Indigenous origin were woven together during this period, the exhibition showcases the production, use, and meaning of garments as well as the ways they were experienced both in civil and religious settings.” The show ends on January 8, 2023.

 Painted Cloth: Fashion and Ritual in Colonial Latin America at the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas (Image credit: BlantonMuseum.org) 

And if you can’t physically visit a museum, you can now take a 360° tour at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) to see the  Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery of Fashion and Design. Or go in person to see their Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love exhibit on view from June 25, 2022 to November 6, 2022. Sebastian Errazuriz, 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers (The Gold Digger, The Heartbreaker, The Boss), 2013. 3d-printed abs plastic, resin, acrylic. Museum purchase. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Kathy Tarantola.

We all know the importance of fashion in the broad context of our civilization. According to Lynda Roscoe Hartigan (PEM Executive Director /CEO):

Museums offer us an environment in which people, ideas, life experiences, and feelings can come together across time, place, and cultures. We seek out art and creative expression to feel grounded, to feel awe, and, yes, to question and understand who we are and who we can become through our shared humanity.”

In our rapidly changing world, museums use fashion exhibitions as a means of cultural expression and to stimulate conversation. From The Costume Institute’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” at the MET (May 5, 2022 – September 5, 2022), to the upcoming Gianni Versace Retrospective at the Groninger Museum (Netherlands December 3, 2022 – May 7, 2023), UoF has rounded up some of the major exhibitions you should check out now and into 2023. As every fashion designer knows, fashion exhibitions are a treasure trove of inspiration, so be sure to check out the UoF website for our free Fashion Museum Resource List.

VIRGIL ABLOH: “FIGURES OF SPEECH”

Abloh’s extensive fashion collaborations are also on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. (Photo Credit: Brooklyn Museum)

The Brooklyn Museum has curated some of the strongest fashion exhibitions over the past few years from Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, to Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion, and now, the museum just opened its Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” exhibition on July 1, 2022 which runs until January 29, 2023.

Since the beginning of his career, the multidisciplinary work of late creative artist/designer Virgil Abloh (Rockford, Illinois, 1980–2021) has reshaped how we understand the role of fashion, art, design, and music in contemporary culture. Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech,” developed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, is the first museum exhibition dedicated to Abloh’s work and spans two decades of his practice. The show includes his collaborations with artist Takashi Murakami; musician Kanye West and architect Rem Koolhaas. Designs from his fashion label, Off-White, and items from Louis Vuitton, where he served as the first Black menswear artistic director are also on  display.

Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speechvideo. Video Courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum for You Tube

Figures of Speech” traces the late designer’s exploration of the communicative power of design. His use of language and quotation marks turned his creations, and the people who engage with them, into literal figures of speech.

For the Brooklyn Museum exhibit, they just added never-before-seen objects from the artist’s archives, as well as a “social sculpture,” which draws upon Abloh’s background in architecture. The installation offers a space for gathering and performances, designed to counter the historical lack of space given to Black artists and Black people in cultural institutions.

FASHIONING MASCULINITIES: THE ART OF MENSWEAR

London’s V&A Fashioning Masculinities The Art of Menswear Exhibit. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

The V&A Museum in London has opened its first major menswear exhibition, “Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear”, featuring looks by a multitude of designers such as Harris Reed, Gucci, Grace Wales Bonner, Rick Owens, JW Anderson, Comme des Garçons, Raf Simons, and Craig Green. The exhibit, which opened on March 19th and runs until November 6, 2022, celebrates the power, artistry and diversity of masculine attire and appearance. It features approximately 100 looks from fashion’s legendary designers and rising stars, alongside 100 historical treasures and acclaimed artworks. The presentation is displayed thematically across three galleries, outlining how menswear has been fashioned and re-fashioned over the centuries by designers, tailors and artists, and their clients.

With androgynous fashion ‘au courant’, the exhibit showcases masculinities across the centuries, from Renaissance to global contemporary, with looks worn by familiar faces such as Harry Styles, Billy Porter and Sam Smith to David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich, highlighting and celebrating the diversities of masculine sartorial self-expression.

Co-curators of ‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear,’ Claire Wilcox and Rosalind McKever, said in a statement, “Masculine fashion is enjoying a period of unprecedented creativity. It has long been a powerful mechanism for encouraging conformity or expressing individuality. Rather than a linear or definitive history, this is a journey across time and gender. The exhibition will bring together historical and contemporary looks with art that reveals how masculinity has been performed. This will be a celebration of the masculine wardrobe, and everyone is invited to join in.”

THE ROYAL COLLECTION TO CELEBRATE THE QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE

Royal Collection Trust; Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation Dress and Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day by Cecil Beaton. (Photo Credit: The Royal Palace)

If you’re into all things “Royal” then here’s an exhibit for you! This year, the Queen celebrates her historic Platinum Jubilee with three special displays marking significant occasions in Her Majesty’s reign: the Accession, the Coronation and the Jubilees, held at the official royal residences at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession exhibition will be at the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, opening on July 22 and running until October 2, 2022. Here, portraits of The Queen taken by Dorothy Wilding, alongside items of Her Majesty’s personal jewelry worn for the portrait sittings will be on display. The exhibit will also include The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, which was a wedding gift to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, later Queen Mary, on the occasion of her marriage to the future King George V in 1893.

The Queen’s Coronation exhibition is held at Windsor Castle. The exhibit opened on July 7 and will run until September 26, 2022, featuring the Coronation Dress and Robe of Estate designed by British couturier Sir Norman Hartnell and worn by The Queen for her Coronation at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.

The final exhibition will be at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and will run from July to September, featuring looks worn by Her Majesty on occasions to celebrate the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees. This will include the pink silk crepe and chiffon dress, coat and stole by royal couturier Sir Hardy Amies for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, which will be displayed with the matching hat designed by Simone Mirman with flowerheads hanging from silk stems.

TIP: And if you haven’t read The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor- The Truth and the Turmoil by Tina Brown…get going. It’s the perfect summer read.

AFRICAN FASHION

Left A look by Chris Seydou. Right A look from Imane Ayissi’s Spring 2020. (Photo Credits: Fashion United)

Africa Fashion, an exhibition curated by Dr Christine Checinska, London’s V&M Museum’s new curator of African and African Diaspora fashion, celebrates the vitality and innovation of Africa’s vibrant fashion scene, as well as explores how music and the visual arts form a key part of Africa’s cultural renaissance. The exhibit, which runs from June 11, 2022 to April 16, 2023, brings together more than 250 objects, drawn from the personal archives of a selection of mid-twentieth century and influential contemporary African fashion creatives such as, Shade Thomas-Fahm, Chris Seydou, Kofi Ansah, and Alphadi, alongside textiles and photographs from the V&A’s collection.

Commenting on the exhibition, Dr Christine Checinska said in a statement, “The exhibit will present African fashions as a self-defining art form that reveals the richness and diversity of African histories and cultures. To showcase all fashions across such a vast region would be to attempt the impossible. Instead, Africa Fashion will celebrate the vitality and innovation of a selection of fashion creatives, exploring the work of the vanguard in the twentieth century and the creatives at the heart of this eclectic and cosmopolitan scene today. We hope this exhibition will spark a renegotiation of the geography of fashion and become a game-changer for the field.”

PART TWO –  IN AMERICA: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FASHION

A look by Marguery Bolhagen on display at the Met Museum Costume Institute exhibit, A Lexicon of Fashion. (Photo Credit: AP)

Yes, we had previously covered Part One of The Costume Institute at the MET when it opened on May 7th, but how can we cover some of the best fashion exhibits and not include Part Two? In America: An Anthology of Fashion explores the development of American fashion by presenting narratives that relate to the complex and layered histories of those spaces featuring women’s and men’s historical and contemporary dress dating from the 18th century to the present in vignettes. If you happen to be in New York and would like to see this exhibit, you better hurry because it runs until September 5, 2022.

GIANNI VERSACE RETROSPECTIVE

Groninger Museum  Gianni Versace Retrospective. (Photo Credit: Groninger Museum)

The Groninger Museum (Netherlands)  will showcase a retrospective on the late designer Gianni Versace and describes Gianni Versace as one of the “most influential couturiers” in fashion. The Gianni Versace Retrospective exhibit, which is scheduled December 2, 2022 to May 7, 2023, promises to be a colorful, daring, and emotional exhibit that will honor Gianni Versace and his trailblazing designs. It will feature his men’s and women’s collections, accessories, fabrics, drawings and interior design, plus footage of the legendary runway shows from the Italian designer’s glory days between 1989 and 1997.

Curated by Versace experts Karl von der Ahé and Saskia Lubnow, all items on display are original pieces sourced from international private collections. The exhibition will highlight how Versace linked fashion with music, photography and graphic design, and led the way in the transformation of fashion shows and advertising campaigns into works of art.

BARBIE: A CULTURAL ICON EXHIBITION

Barbie A Cultural Icon The Exhibition. (Photo Credit: The Shops at Crystals)

Barbie: A Cultural Icon Exhibition celebrates over sixty years of fashion and inspiration, proving that Barbie is more than just a doll, she is a cultural phenomenon. On display will be the very first Barbie doll produced in 1959 and will lead visitors through the decades, paying homage to Barbie and the world around her. The installation also features 150+ vintage dolls, artifacts, and life-sized fashion pieces that come to life through custom-themed displays. Video media and interviews with Barbie designers will expand the narrative. Plus, the Barbie Exhibition Gift Shop offers a select collection of the latest Barbie collector dolls, sets and accessories, exclusive merchandise, and a curated collection of high-end vintage Barbie dolls and accessories.

The exhibit is at The Shops at Crystals, in Las Vegas and runs through December 31, 2022.

LEE ALEXANDER MCQUEEN: MIND, MYTHOS, MUSE

Lee Alexander McQueen Mind, Mythos, Muse at LACMA. (Photo Credit: LACMA)

If you are a fan of Alexander McQueen and weren’t able to catch the Alexander McQueen Retrospective: Savage Beauty at the MET in 2011, well, he’s back! The first McQueen exhibition on the West Coast, Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse contextualizes the designer’s imaginative work within a canon of artmakers who drew upon analogous themes and visual references. The exhibit can be seen at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) until October 9, 2022.

One of the most significant contributors to fashion between 1990 and 2010, Lee Alexander McQueen (London, 1969–2010) was both a conceptual and technical genius. His critically acclaimed collections combined the designer’s proficiency in tailoring and dressmaking with both encyclopedic and autobiographical references that spanned time, geography, media, and technology. The exhibit explores his imagination, artistic process, and innovation in fashion and art, while examining the interdisciplinary impulse that defined McQueen’s career.

LACMA looks to the myriad of cultural inspirations behind more than 70 of Alexander McQueen’s conceptually and aesthetically imaginative dresses.

In conjunction with the exhibition Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse, renowned scholars and artists explore imagination, artistic process, and innovation in fashion and art to further examine the interdisciplinary impulse that defined McQueen’s career, legacy, and sources of inspiration. Video Courtesy of YouTube.

SHOCKING! THE SURREAL WORLD OF ELSA SCHIAPARELLI

Elsa Schiaparelli’s exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. (Photo Credit: Luxferity)

Earlier this month, on July 6th, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris opened its much-anticipated exhibit Shocking! The surreal world of Elsa Schiaparelli. The installation runs until January 22, 2023 and celebrates the creations of Italian couturière Elsa Schiaparelli, bringing together 520 works including 272 silhouettes and accessories by Schiaparelli herself, alongside paintings, sculptures, jewelry, perfumes, ceramics, posters, and photographs by the likes of Schiaparelli’s dear friends and contemporaries, Man Ray, Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau, Meret Oppenheim, and Elsa Triolet. The retrospective will also feature creations designed in honor of Schiaparelli by fashion icons Yves Saint Laurent, Azzedine Alaïa, John Galliano and Christian Lacroix. Daniel Roseberry, artistic director of the House of Schiaparelli since 2019, also interprets the heritage of Elsa Schiaparelli with a design of his own.

“Shocking! The surreal world of Elsa Schiaparelli” (Video courtesy of Schiaparelli on Youtube)

The exhibit, displayed on two levels, guides visitors into thematically and chronologically significant points in Elsa Schiaparelli’s career that included various combinations of her collections through the years with the works of friends and contemporaries who inspired her. The installation addresses the artist’s awakening in fashion and modernity along with the critical role that designer Paul Poiret played as a mentor in Schiaparelli’s life beginning in 1922. Although it has been nearly 20 years since the last Schiaparelli retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, this time the focus is on how she drew inspiration from her close ties to the Parisian avant-garde of the 1920s and 1930s. “Schiap”, as she was known as, was a brilliant designer who exposed her sense of feminine style to the modern public. Her designs were powered by a tongue-in-cheek aesthetic while at the same time a sophistication that was new to the world of fashion.

GUO PEI: COUTURE FANTASY

Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy exhibition. (Photo Credit: Legion of Honor Museum)

Guo Pei, the couturier behind Rihanna‘s viral yellow gown at the 2015 Met Gala, received her very own exhibition at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor that opened on April 16th and will run through September 5th. The installation entitled, Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy, features over 80 of the designer’s creations, including those showcased on runways in Beijing and Paris. Pei spoke of the show, “As a creator and artist, there is no greater honor or privilege than to share my creativity with a wider audience. I am therefore honored and humbled that the prestigious Legion of Honor Museum will be presenting a retrospective of my work. In doing so, I hope that it will bring greater awareness and understanding of my life’s passion, and convey Chinese culture, traditions and show the new face of contemporary China.”

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