On Summer Break

Dear All,

Fashion Projects is on summer break. We’ll see you back in August with more interviews for the series “Fashion and Sustainability–Lines of Research” by Mae Colburn and much more.

In the meantime, hope you’ll enjoy our archives and the summer!


Francesca Granata, Editor

Posted in Uncategorized

Fashion Photography on View

By Laura McLaws Helms

Brian Duffy’s “Aladdin Sane,” 1973

Exhibiting fashion photographs in museum and gallery settings has become increasingly common in recent years. Combining two fields that have had difficulty being accepted as ‘fine arts’, fashion photography only moved off the page and onto the wall within the last 15 years — the 2004 Museum of Modern Art show “Fashioning Fiction in Photography since 1990” was their first exhibition of fashion photography. As iconic fashion photographs have become part of the museum cannon, auction prices for such works have soared with Irving Penn’s Woman in Moroccan Palace (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Marrakech (1951) selling for a record-breaking $409,740 at Christie’s last December. It can be of little surprise that museums all over the world are exhuming the archives of a variety of fashion photographers for retrospective shows.

Jean-Paul Goude’s “Animatronic Grace”

The multi-talented Jean-Paul Goude, whose accomplishments in photography, film and video, art direction, illustration and brand development over his 40 year career have made him an icon of consummate creativity, is the focus of a retrospective exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The first such show of his work, “Goudemalion,” covers many aspects of his multi-faceted career. Opening with elements from his most ostentatious creation, the Bicentennial parade in Paris commemorating the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution on July 14, 1989, the visitor is first greeted by a life-size spinning doll and then, in the main hall, a giant locomotive that journeyed down the Champs-Elysées. While the side galleries start with his early fashion illustrations in the 1960s, it is with his increasing interest in photography in the 1970s, when he was working as the art director at Esquire, that his inimitable style becomes solidified. Known primarily for his work with muse and former girlfriend, the Jamaican-American singer Grace Jones, his pre-Photoshop cut-and-paste images of her, which distort her body into impossible, intimidating forms, are shown in both the original (spliced and refigured) and the final (airbrushed into unknown perfection). His fashion photographs are crammed onto the black walls of four smaller rooms — simply mounted and unframed, they range from the overtly sexy images of the ‘70s to the more obviously stylized and surreal photographs of later decades. One wall is given over to the fun series he has been taking since the 1980s of fashion designers — including Azzedine Alaïa, Valentino and Jean Paul Gaultier. Bright and colorful, the images pop against the black walls and low lighting. As this retrospective includes sculpture, performance art, animatronics and television adverts for clients such as Chanel, it goes far beyond just fashion photography – but by incorporating all of these different media, this retrospective helps to show how one singular vision can be adapted and translated across many fields, and also marks his influence in defining the brash, surrealistic photographic style of post-modernism in the 1980s.
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Posted in Exhibitions, Museums, Photography, Uncategorized

Titania Inglis: Fade From Green

By Sarah Scaturro

A favorite look from Titania Inglis’ F/W 2012 collection.  Photographer: Dan Lecca

Fashion Projects has been a fan of Titania Inglis ever since she launched her eponymous label a few years ago, so it was such great news to hear that she had won the 2012 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award for Sustainable Design.  While I initially thought of Inglis as an “eco” designer, it quickly became apparent that the term “eco” was simply too reductive for her design philosophy. For her, sustainability is not a gimmick, or just about sourcing yet another ecotextile. Rather, she is moving towards a concept of sustainability that emphasizes longevity, quality, and thoughtfulness.  We are very pleased to present this interview with Inglis, coming on the heels of her recent F/W 2012 fashion presentation at Eyebeam.

Fashion Projects: Congratulations on your recent Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award for Sustainable Design.  How has winning the award affected your business?

Titania Inglis: Thank you! Receiving the Ecco Domani award is such a dream come true — I didn’t believe it at first when I received the email telling me I’d won. It’s opened a lot of doors for me already within the fashion industry, and I was able to put together an incredible team for my show this season, including stylist Christian Stroble, makeup artist Lisa Aharon and hairstylist Ramona Eschbach, photographer Aliya Naumoff, set designer Ryan Crozier of Forgotten City — and collaborating on a series of leather body accessories with Bliss Lau, a designer whose innovative work I’ve admired for years.

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Posted in Designers, Fashion Shows, General, Interviews, Sustainable Fashion, Textiles, Uncategorized

Recent Fashion Exhibitions in Paris

“Madame Grès, la couture à l’oeuvre,” at the Musée Bourdelle, photo by Laura McLaws Helms

by Laura McLaws Helms

While fashion is often viewed as a lesser art, used by museums to draw in a broader range of visitors, recent exhibitions in Paris have illustrated the vastly different ways costume can be looked at in regards to its place in society. Of them, the exhibition “Madame Grès, la couture à l’oeuvre,” at the Musée Bourdelle (till July 24th), covers the most traditional view of fashion history – a retrospective on a single couturier. Conversely, “L’Orient des femmes vu par Christian Lacroix” at the Musée du Quai Branly and “Les années 1990-2000” at the Musée de La Mode et du Textile in the Musée des Arts décoratifs are focused on aspects of dress history that are commonly overlooked, and when viewed together allow for a more varied understanding of costume.

The ongoing renovations of the Musée Galliera have left Paris without a museum expressly devoted to fashion, but provided its curators with the opportunity to stage a fashion exhibition amongst the sculpture of the Musée Bourdelle, the first time a multi-disciplinary show has been done there. The high quality work of Grès’ dresses, many of which can be closely analyzed, is a remnant from a past world – a fact which is further emphasized when compared with “Les années 1990-2000″ organized by Musée de La Mode et du Textile (which closed May 8th). The second half of their ‘Histoire idéale de la mode contemporaine,’ the designers and looks chosen were the very apotheosis of Grès’ inimitable classicism.

Azzedine Alaia exhibited in “Les années 1990-2000” at the Musée de La Mode et du Textile in the Musée des Arts décoratifs, photo by Laura McLaws Helms

Opening with Margiela and the Belgians, the two floors of the exhibition were a rabbit warren of glass boxes filled with mostly prêt-a-porter outfits that bare little in common with the stately chic of Grès. The work of the thirty designers on view revealed the unquestionable influence of street style on contemporary fashion, with disparate ideas from grunge, punk and goth all making appearances. The diverseness of the looks on view (Lacroix’s gaudy couture vs. Miyake’s architectural pleated forms) made for an enjoyable exhibition, though one that at times seems too have been organized too soon — Lanvin RTW cocktail dresses two years out of the stores appear more ridiculous than prescient in the context of a museum. It is always difficult to truly analyze trends as they occur from a historical point of view, and the constructed tableaux often drew directly from the runway videos, emphasizing the seemingly unbreakable bonds between the garments and their mediated visions.

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Posted in Designers, Exhibitions, General, Museums, Textiles, Uncategorized

Unravelling Knitwear in Fashion

Sandra Backlund, Collection ‘Body, skin and hair’ (c) Photography: Johan Renck, Stylist Ellen Af Geijerstam

by Sarah Scaturro

I first met Karen Van Godtsenhoven when I was in Brussels last fall giving a lecture as the keynote speaker at the Camouflage Takes Center Stage conference at the Royal Military Museum.  She gave a wonderful presentation on camouflage in Belgian fashion – it was quite hilarious to watch all of the stiff military personnel (mostly men) chuckle uncomfortably as she showed a video of Bernard Willhelm’s Spring/Summer 2004 presentation parodying the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in which partially-clothed men walked out of a closet (literally) wearing camouflage and face paint and then proceeded to irreverently jump on a couch (see the video at the bottom of this post).

Van Godtsenhoven is a relatively new fashion curator with a promising future – “Unravel,” the exhibition on view now at Momu, is the first time she has taken the helm as lead curator (along with the guest curator Emmanuelle Dirix, a lecturer at Central Saint Martins and Antwerp Fashion Academy.)  Following is an interview in which she talks about why she chose to dissect knitwear in fashion, what some of the challenges were in mounting an exhibition on this topic, and who she thinks some of the best knitwear designers are today. Her upcoming projects include exhibitions about Nudie Cohn and Walter Van Beirendock.

Fashion Projects: What inspired you to curate a show about knitwear in fashion?

Van Godtsenhoven: It’s been a favorite subject and fascination of ours here for years. It was literally a research file ‘in the cupboard’ waiting to come out. With the current vogue for knitwear with young designers, but also the popularity of knitting within the wider public (think knitting cafés, ravelry.com, guerrilla knitting), we thought it was the right time for the subject to come out of the closet.

Unravel Installation,  MoMu, Antwerp, Photo: Frederik Vercruysse

You selected a mix of historical and contemporary pieces – besides the actual structure of the garments (non-woven, single element) did you find any surprising similarities or differences in how knitwear was used in the past as compared with today?

Yes, the changing status of knitwear in fashion is a subject of endless study possibilities. Whereas we see knitwear emerging very early on as a kind of handmade utility garment (related with warmth, hygiene and sturdiness – this element is still with us today), machine knitting is also a very old technique (16th century, long before the industrial revolution), which was very technologically advanced and resulted in very fine gauze- like materials. There are a few dresses and jackets in the show from the 17th, 18th and 19th century, of which many visitors cannot believe that they are knitted, the same goes for many of the 19th century socks: they are embellished and knitted so finely it looks like embroidery or lace. So, before the industrial revolution, machine knitting was considered high-class. Now we see an opposite appreciation: handmade goods are more costly than machine made ones.

There are many continuing ideas about knitwear (jersey is still used for sportswear, handmade goods are still associated with the domestic sphere and now also the DIY movement), but the short history of knitwear in fashion shows that there have been many (r)evolutions: from underwear and swimwear to Chanel’s jersey dresses and marine sweaters, to Schiaparelli and Patou’s abstract motifs, to the knitted A line dresses in the sixties, as a result of the sexual revolution, and the deconstructed 1990s knitwear that had its origins in the 1970s punk movement. Knitwear has always gone with the waves of society, and that makes it very interesting. I think the so called ‘revival’ (whilst knitwear has never really been away from the catwalk) of knitwear these days can be linked to heightened ecological awareness and a longing for handmade and body-hugging goods, and I’m curious in which form it will come back in the future.

Bathing suit by Elsa Schiaparelli, ca. 1928 (c) Condé Nast Archive/CORBIS

Were there any challenges to exhibiting knitwear pieces, especially due to conservation issues?

Yes, both the heavy and voluminous pieces, as well as the fine gauze-like knits weigh themselves down under their own weight: knitwear is a more ‘open’ material than a woven cloth and will hence open up even more when hanging. This is a risk for skirts and dresses stretching, or growing longer up to 40 cm in the 5 months they are on show.

We covered the busts and mannequins with a fine jersey, which ‘clings’ well to the knitted silhouettes and keeps the pieces in place – we also provided waist and hip supports for the dresses. The very frail pieces are displayed flat in cases. Knitwear is really always best kept flat…I’ve learned this from my own experience!

Tilda Swinton for Sandra Backlund. Published in Another Magazine, Autumn 2009 (c) Photography by Craig McDean, Styling by Panos Yiapanis

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Posted in Designers, Exhibitions, General, Interviews, Museums, Uncategorized


Coming up this Tuesday May 10th as part of the Parsons Festival is a panel discussion with Tim Gunn and Scott Schuman:

“From ‘The Fashion Show’ on television, ‘The Sartorialist’ website, ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ the movie, to ‘Fruits’ the Japanese magazine, fashion is increasingly a visual part of our global reality. What does this mean? Looking at different forms of public and social media, this panel discussion featuring Tim Gunn and “The Sartorialist” Scott Schuman will discuss the cultural significance of contemporary constructions of fashion.”

Moderated by Hazel Clark, Dean of the School of Art and Design History and Theory; with an introduction by Heike Jenss, Director of the MA Fashion Studies program.

Posted in Lectures, Performance, Research/University Programmes, Uncategorized

Japanese Fashion – Past, Present, Future?

by Sarah Scaturro

Issey Miyake’s new 132 5 collection as displayed in the Barbican Art Gallery’s exhibition “Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion.” Photo by Barbican Art Gallery.

We all know that fashion is an expression of the zeitgeist – a style or trend can explode out of seemingly nowhere, with disparate tribes and geographies adopting it simultaneously. Fashion exhibitions are no different. The past few years have seen many exhibitions mounted on similar topics (colors, sustainability, glamour, etc). Currently there are two very different exhibitions on display about Japanese fashion. The first is “Japan Fashion Now” at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT) in New York City, and the second is “Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion” at the Barbican Art Gallery in London.

There are some obvious similarities between these exhibitions – both are curated by top curators in the field (Valerie Steele at MFIT and the Kyoto Costume Institute’s Akiko Fukai at the Barbican). Both focus on Japanese fashion designers and celebrate their contributions to the Western fashion system. Both show looks dating back to 30 years ago and pay attention to contemporary Japanese sub-cultures. But that’s it. Their interpretations, exhibition design and overall approaches are radically different.
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Posted in Designers, Exhibitions, Fashion Shows, Museums, Uncategorized

A Textile Arts Community Grows in Brooklyn

Summer Camp at the Textile Arts Center

I first heard about the Textile Arts Center (TAC) from my friend Isa Rodrigues, a textile conservator and fiber enthusiast who works there as the studio manager. She kept telling me I needed to meet the “TAC girls” because not only were they young and cool, they were doing something that nobody else in the city was doing – singlehandedly crafting together a vibrant community of like-minded people interested in textiles and fiber arts. I stopped by one of their free open-house weaving sessions that they have every last Friday of the month, and I was thrilled with the beauty of the space, the incredible looms, the colorful spools of yarn and the welcoming feeling that greeted me. Once I met Visnja Popovic and Owyn Ruck, the co-founders of TAC, I was instantly swept up by their enthusiasm and commitment towards forging a place where textile experts, novices, enthusiasts, and artists can learn and practice this most ancient of arts. Owyn took a moment out of her busy schedule to talk to Fashion Projects about their work and vision for the Textile Arts Center.

Fashion Projects: Recently TAC has gotten a lot of people in the local fashion and textile
 fields buzzing, even though it seems like you popped out of nowhere.
 Can you give us a little information on the backstory of the center 
and tell us about your gorgeous new space in Brooklyn?

Textile Arts Center: Buzzing?! Are they? That’s good to hear…I feel like we have our noses to the ground, pounding work out without taking a second to stop and see how much we’ve changed in the past year.

Textile Arts Center started just over a year ago in a small weaving studio in Park Slope. Visnja and I really wanted to expand to offer other programs, especially for adults, and create the “center” we envisioned. I think the main thrill was in bringing together everyone with a love for fibers, or even slightest interest, and creating the environment that was comfortable, fun and really conducive to making great work. The feeling of art school, without going back to art school.

We went through a long process of finding the right space, kind of with haste at one point… But we found this one after a few mishaps! And that’s what’s important. It felt like home immediately. Our move to Carroll St was in April and since then we’ve just sort of grown. I think a big part of that growth was feeling secure in what we were presenting to the public. The space speaks a lot for itself and we’ve been working hard to reach the right audiences with the confidence that we are doing something people could really love.
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Posted in General, Interviews, Sustainable Fashion, Textiles, Uncategorized

Hacking Sustainable Fashion

Photos by Megan MacMurray

Fashion Projects readers might be familiar with Giana Gonzalez, an interaction designer and artist who seeks to hack into the fashion system. I had interviewed her back in 2006 about her Hacking Couture workshops. Results from her workshops given in New York, Chicago, California and Istanbul are on view now at Eyebeam as part of the exhibition Re:Group: Beyond Models of Consensus.

Giana and I will be giving a FREE workshop this coming Wednesday, July 14th, at Eyebeam using the hacking methodology Giana has created. Only this time, instead of trying to hack the code of fashion brands, we are setting our sights a bit higher – we aim to hack into the sustainable fashion movement. In fact, we know that ultimately, a hack into sustainable fashion is really about hacking the entire fashion system…something we are very excited to try. Please do attend if you can, as we cannot do this alone.

Of course, we will be posting the code we develop on the Fashion Code Wiki.

More images from the Re:Group: Beyond Models of Consensus exhibition after the jump.

Sarah Scaturro
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Posted in Exhibitions, Fashion & Technology, Interviews, Lectures, Sustainable Fashion, Uncategorized

Spring Fashion Events around NYC

Jane Fonda in Klute

by Sarah Scaturro

This spring there are a lot of events occurring around NYC with fashion as the main focus. Here is a breakdown of the ones that I’ve been able to find, and they are all free! Please leave a comment if I’ve left anything out.

April 9th – Richard Martin Visual Culture Symposium
Tonight is the Annual Richard Martin Visual Culture Symposium at NYU, which allows the graduating students of the Visual Culture MA program to lecture on their thesis topic. Worn Through has a breakdown of the topics and schedule.

April 13th, 20th and 27th – Fashion In Film: New York City
The brand new MA program in Fashion Studies at Parsons The New School for Design is hosting a fashion in film series for the entire month of April. Curated by Jeffrey Lieber, Assistant Professor of Visual Culture Studies, the series has some fashion classics – Annie Hall and Sabrina – but also some lesser-known films with impressive fashions, such as Klute (Jane Fonda) and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Barbara Streisand).

April 15th – 16th Bard Graduate Center Annual Symposium
Bard Graduate Center is having their annual symposium on April 15-16th on the topic of Secondhand Culture: Waste, Value, and Materiality. I can’t wait for to hear Senior Curator of Costume at the ROM Alexandra Palmer speak on “Back to Back: Retro-fitting Fashion within the Museum.” There will also be a screening of the film “Secondhand.”

April 19th – Anna Wintour Lecture
According to NY MAG Anna Wintour is giving a free lecture on the 19th at 6 pm at Pratt Institute.

April 22nd – FIT’s 4th Annual Sustainable Business & Design conference
This year’s theme is Redesigning for a Sustainable Future. Go here for more information.

April 27th – Mannequins in the Museum: Perspectives on Curating Fashion
The lecture I’m most excited for is by Joanne Dolan Ingersoll, a truly talented curator from RISD. She will be giving a lecture for SVA’s Design Criticism MFA lecture series on a topic I have great interest in due to my work: “Mannequins in the Museum: Perspectives on Curating Fashion.”

April 29th – Predicting Color Trends in Fashion
FIT is hosting the seriously hardworking historian Reggie Blaszczyk on April 29th when she’ll give a lecture on the history of predicting color trends. I was fortunate enough to meet her at the Business History conference last year in Milan – I had just read her article on Dorothy Liebes called “Designing Synthetics, Building Brands” in the Journal of Design History. As someone who studies synthetics and has handled Liebes’ textiles, the article about blew my mind.

May 4th – Towards Sustainable Fashion Symposium
In conjunction with the Scandinavian House’s Eco-Chic exhibition, there will be a panel discussion featuring Marcus Bergman, Karin Stenmar, Sass Brown and Eviana Hartman, and moderated by Hazel Clark, Dean of the School of Art and Design and Theory, Parsons: The New School for Design.

May 8th – FIT’s Annual Fashion and Textiles Symposium
This year’s topic for FIT’s Annual Fashion and Textiles Symposium on May 8th sounds great – Americans in Paris: Designers, Buyers, Editors, Photographers, Models, and Clients in Paris Fashion.

May 21st and 22nd – Costume Collections: A Collaborative Model for Museums
The Brooklyn Museum and the Costume Institute are hosting a 2-day symposium about their new costume collaboration. I’m looking forward to seeing both exhibitions this spring!

Posted in Exhibitions, Film, General, Lectures, Museums, Sustainable Fashion, Uncategorized


About Fashion Projects

Fashion Projects began in New York in 2004, with the aim to create a platform to highlight the importance of fashion — especially “experimental” fashion — within current critical discourses. Through interviews with a range of artists, designers, writers and curators, as well as through other planned projects and exhibits, we hope to foster a dialogue between theory and practice across disciplines.

We are primarily a print journal, however we also publish web-based updates and interviews (a “digest” version of which you can receive by signing up to our mailing list or via our RSS feed) and are currently working on exhibits based on past and future issues. To order any of our issues visit our ordering page.

We are a nonprofit organization, which has previously received grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

We are currently a sponsored project by the New York Foundation of the Arts, a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. Contributions on behalf of Fashion Projects can be made payable to the “New York Foundation of the Arts,” and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the law. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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