This post is long in the making. I have been meaning to review the exhibition Body Unbound: Contemporary Couture from the IMA’s Collection at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, as it ties in with themes explored in my Ph.D. on the grotesque in fashion at the turn of the twenty-first century, which I recently completed at Central Saint Martins
However, having not yet been able to visit the exhibition in person combined with the fact that it closes January, I figured for the moment, to at least mention its central theme and participating designers as sketched out in the museum’s accompanying literature:
"Body Unbound: Contemporary Couture from the IMA’s Collection, examines the many ways designers have manipulated, transformed and liberated the female figure. The exhibition will feature ground breaking designs by Rudi Gernreich, Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe, Thierry Mugler, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Gianni Versace and other avant-garde fashion designers. Body Unbound will explore how these designers used modern construction and unexpected materials to contort, conceal, reveal or mock their wearers.
Fashions by visionaries Rudi Gernreich and Jean-Paul Gaultier illustrate how some designers played with the notions of shape and construction, challenging mid-century ideals of form. Examples by Issey Miyake and Junya Watanabe, based on the theories of androgyny and “universal beauty,” demonstrate how Japanese designers working in Paris in the 1980s and 1990s promoted an alternate way of styling the body, concealing its contours and silhouette. Pieces by Thierry Mugler, Gianni Versace and Franco Moschino display how designers utilized innovative textiles and subversive design elements to toy with the concepts of seduction and femininity."
The exhibition is on view through January 30, 2010 and the IMA will be its sole venue.