A Fashionable Art Tour

As summer wanes to an end, it begs the question – what did you do?  Where did you go?  And how you will spend the next few weeks? The summer of 2013 was blessed with an endless array of fashion exhibits.   Major cultural institutions around the world put fashion front and center.  What’s your pleasure?  Designer retrospective?  High end costume jewelry?  Queer fashion?  If you happen to be in any of these cities before the end of September, you’re in luck. 

CHICAGO

Friends of mine recently stumbled upon the Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity at The Art Institute of Chicago.  This internationally acclaimed exhibit lets you stroll through late 1800’s when Paris was the style capitol of the world. 
 
The exhibit’s description expands on the state of affairs in Paris: “In the second half of the 19th century, the modern fashion industry was born: designers like Charles Frederick Worth were transforming how clothing was made and marketed, department stores were on the rise, and fashion magazines were beginning to proliferate.”
 
Luscious life-size figure paintings by Monet, Renoir or Tissot are juxtaposed alongside the period costumes, and in some cases the actual clothing, that inspired them.  Through September 29.
 

TORONTO
The Design Exchange states the Christian Louboutin exhibit celebrates “20 years of design, artistry and magic.”  And if you need to ask, what’s magic got to do with it?  Then you don’t know Loubs.  Undoubtedly, if you love shoes you remember your first pair of red soles.  I hit the opening night (wearing my pink Loubouties, right) back in June and loved it, so this particular show comes personally recommended.

You can check out photos from an event FGI Toronto hosted at the DX just after the exhibit’s opening, but time is ticking.  You only have until September 15 to see the master’s magic before poof! – it’s gone.  Fret not Toronto, there’s more star power coming: if you like the intersection of music and fashion, then mark your calendar; the AGO opens David Bowie is on September 25.


NEW YORK

There’s a reason why the Museum at FIT fancies itself the Most Fashionable Museum in New York City. Because it’s the most fashionable museum in New York City.  Right now you can take in RetroSpective, an exhibit exploring the historical connections to contemporary fashion.  See what influenced McQueen, Balenciaga and Schiaparelli (through November 16). 
 
If you time your trip right, you can also catch A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk (September 13 – January 4, 2014).  It is a remarkable undertaking to honor the contributions to fashion made by the LGBTQ community over 300 years.  FIT is the first museum to do so.  (Fashionable and socially conscious, go FIT!)
 
Meanwhile, for accessories fans, New York’s Museum of Arts and Design hosts the Collection of Barbara Berger.  Don’t know Barbara?  She is the daughter of an American diamond merchant and a hoarder of the most lovely kind.  Berger (still alive) has amassed one of the largest and finest collections of couture jewelry in the world.  Over 450 pieces of her 4,000 personal collection of “bijoux de couture” will be on display.  A portion of the exhibit closes September 22. 



LITTLE ROCK

photo by Getty Images
If you happen to find yourself in Little Rock, Arkansas — and who am I to suggest you wouldn’t? — by all means check out the Oscar de la Renta retrospective American Icon at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.  Born in the Dominican Republic, de la Renta moved to the States in the 1960’s where he quickly became a legend for his ready-to-wear designs.  He has been a favorite of Mrs. Clinton, particularly during her First Lady years.  Nothing personal Arkansas, but I pray this exhibit travels north for easier viewing.  Through December 1.


BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…

LOS ANGELES
Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes (need we say more?!) is on at the Annenberg Space for Photography. Through September 8. 

SEATTLE
Also through September 8, Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion at the Seattle Art Museum.
 
LONDON (UK)
Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980’s explores the relationship between catwalk and clubwear and how experimental designers of the day like Betty Jackson, Wendy Dagworthy and John Galliano helped reinvent British fashion. Through February 2014 at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
 
PARIS
The Mona Bismarck Center for Art and Culture features an exhibit curated by American Vogue contributing editor, Andre Leon Talley called The Little Black Dress.  Through September 22.
 

Toronto Fashion’s Foray in 2013

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, really, since I make resolutions all the time. Around my birthday in April, when I’m forced to contemplate my age, or in September, timed with the fresh start of a new school season. Actually, on any random day of the week I could be inspired to invite change into my world. 

However I do enjoy contemplating what a new year will bring and adore making lists. So here are a few Toronto-based fashion events I count as “must see” in 2013.

February 2, TFI’s Guilty Pleasures Designer Sale & Silent Auction
Held on two floors of the Drake Hotel, here’s a chance to scour fun indie and up-and-coming apparel and accessories labels. Proceeds go to support the Toronto Fashion Incubator, a model for fashion incubators worldwide. They may have celebrated their 25th anniversary last year, but all eyes are on this year’s TFI New Labels show. Target has come on board as a major partner giving the winning designer’s collection space in roughly 150 retail stores across Canada. TFI’s New Labels show is scheduled for April 18th. Tickets will be available soon.

February 26, FGI Toronto’s Digital Retail: A Look at Shopper Marketing
Fashion Group is an organization for professionals working in the business of fashion (full disclosure – I’m the regional director of the Toronto chapter) hosting events on emerging trends that touch on retail, design, business and marketing. With consumer behavior changing rapidly thanks to increased mobile usage, retailers are now forced to evolve they way they interact with their customer. After a chance to network over cocktails, a panel discussion of industry experts will break down the latest strategies and innovations on shopper marketing. Stay tuned to fgitoronto.org for more ticket information.

April 23 – 27, [FAT] Arts & Fashion Week
For a truly weird, wild and wonderful intersection of fashion and art, don’t miss [FAT]. This mult-arts festival features 200 Canadian and international artists across a variety of disciplines including fashion design, photography, performance and installation art and film. I have a special place in my heart for [FAT] Arts & Fashion Week ever since I had the luxury of hitting the runway for a special showcase by Evan Biddell. Yep, that’s me! Hit up the [FAT] website for schedule and ticket information.

June 21 – September 15, Christian Louboutin exhibit at the Design Exchange
There was a chorus of “OMG” posts across Twitter when this announcement came out recently – the Christian Louboutin shoe exhibit that premiered at London’s Design Museum last spring is coming to the DX. Expect a display of Louboutin archives including his first prototype, the origins of his signature red sole, a special ode to his “Fetish” collection and photography by artist David Lynch which were last seen at La Gallerie Du Passage in 2007. Until then, the DX looks to make us happy with The Happy Show, on now through March 3rd. Internationally renowned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister invites us into his mind to explore what makes people, including him, happy.

Dates Unknown!
World MasterCard Fashion Week has yet to release dates for the Fall/Winter 2013 shows, but I’m hoping to see the tents erected once again in mid-to-late March at David Pecaut Square.

A documentary on Iris “I think style is all attitude” Apfel has been in the works for a while. Maysles Films, the production company, released a trailer last summer on the iconic style maven and interior designer. This darling woman may be in her 90’s, but her impact on the fashion scene hasn’t wavered a bit. I’m hoping for a summer release.