Events

50 Years of Indigenous Fashion at the National Museum of the American Indian

Native Fashion Now brings together works by 67 designers and artists from the US and Canada who are melding generations-old practices and contemporary couture.

Jamie Okuma (Luiseño and Shoshone-Bannock), boots (2013–14), glass beads on boots designed by Christian Louboutin, Peabody Essex Museum (photo by Walter Silver, © 2015 Peabody Essex Museum)
Jamie Okuma (Luiseño and Shoshone-Bannock), boots (2013–14), glass beads on boots designed by Christian Louboutin, Peabody Essex Museum (photo by Walter Silver, © 2015 Peabody Essex Museum)

From haute couture gowns to handcrafted accessories and brash streetwear, the 67 designers and artists featured in Native Fashion Now have, over the last 50 years, reinterpreted and reinvigorated traditional materials, styles, and modes of making practiced for generations by the indigenous peoples of the US and Canada.

Margaret Roach Wheeler (Chickasaw) for Mahota Handwovens, "The Messenger (The Owl)" (2014), cape and headpiece from the Mahotan Collection, silk-wool yarn, metal, silver, glass beads, and peacock feathers (photo by Greg Hall, courtesy of the designer)
Margaret Roach Wheeler (Chickasaw) for Mahota Handwovens, “The Messenger (The Owl)” (2014), cape and headpiece from the Mahotan Collection, silk-wool yarn, metal, silver, glass beads, and peacock feathers (photo by Greg Hall, courtesy of the designer)

Highlights of this traveling exhibition, which debuted at the Peabody Essex Museum in late 2015, include a dazzling cape and aviary headdress by Margaret Roach Wheeler (Chickasaw), spectacularly beaded Louboutin boots by Jamie Okuma (Luiseño and Shoshone-Bannock), and a feathery, fiery, desert-inspired ensemble by Orlando Dugi (Diné [Navajo]). As a corrective to the typical presentation of native clothes and dressmaking as static artifacts and activities fit for anthropological study, this exhibition chronicles how time-worn practices have been hybridized and adapted while still retaining links to centuries-old traditions and sacred places.

When: Opens Thursday, February 16, 6pm; continues through September 4
Where: National Museum of the American Indian (One Bowling Green, Financial District, Manhattan)

More info here.

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