More often than ever the term “haute couture” pervades department stores, small-scale boutiques and celebrities’ clothing lines, but the appropriation of the term does not make it anything special.
What happens when the suave gentlemen of the New York-based womenswear and accessories brand Proenza Schouler cross paths with the provocative trash-humping auteur Harmony Korine? This shit, apparently.
Editors note: We reached out to Hyperallergic’s fashion contributor Alexander Cavaluzzo to tell us the top ten must-see fashion museums around the world. Here are his picks.
“Does anyone still wear a hat?” This lyric from Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece musical Company, as crooned out by Elaine Stritch, rung in my head as I found out that master milliner Stephen Jones’s show Hats: An Anthology would travel across the pond from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to the Bard Graduate Center in New York City this Fall. Though English aristocracy continues to include interesting headwear in their luxe lexicon (remember the Royal Wedding?), are hats still so much a sartorial staple in the United States that they warrant an exhibition?
Imagine strolling through clean, bright halls, surrounded by immaculate display cases filled with baubles and trinkets, the steam-polished precious metals and gems coruscating in the glare of spotlights. Hear your feet clacking on the white floors, stopping to look closer at the jewelry on display, but not close enough to stir the ire of the security guard peering over your shoulder. Imagine wanting everything you see, from diamond diadems to neon-tubed necklaces. No, you’re not in Tiffany’s or Cartier, you’re in the Museum of Arts and Design, gazing at their new show, Picasso to Koons: The Artist as Jeweler.
Has she no decency? At long last, has she no decency? The transgressive, titillating performance artist Karen Finley was denied a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1990 because the language and content in her work was deemed “indecent.” Along with three other artists she became part of the infamous Supreme Court case The National Endowment for the Arts v. Karen Finley, which culminated in the discontinuation of individual artist grants. In her interview with Hyperallergic, Finley reflects on the past of New York City, the state of women in the arts, Lady Gaga and more.
In the 1960s, Paco Rabanne subverted traditional dressmaking techniques in his fashions, eschewing the needle and thread for pliers and wire and replacing fabric with metallic discs and panels. The so-called “space age” dresses constructed solely of inflexible paillettes revolutionized how women could adorn their bodies. Now, Etsy-extraordinaire Hally McGehean continues the trajectory of this alternative dress style in her work, with some über-conceptual 21st Century touches.
On average, we probably encounter magazines more frequently than art. To equate them, though, isn’t common practice. Is a New Yorker cartoon just a quirky little illustration, or is it a defining style of both humor and drawing that has become iconic not just of the weekly, but of the history of cartooning? Is a fashion spread in Harper’s Bazaar just luscious eye candy coxing consumers to buy clothes, or is it the collaborative result of aesthetic visionaries in the demanding creative fields of photography, creative direction and fashion? Are magazines glossy periodicals filled with ads, or are they works of art with revolutionary potential?
Vogue Nippon (Japanese Vogue) Editor-at-Large Anna Dello Russo delivers a new perspective on Orientalism in her latest shoot with model Crystal Renn. Outfitted in standard high fashion looks by Dolce & Gabbana, Renn’s eyes are epicanthicized with the use of good old-fashioned household tape.
Among the cringe-worthy capitalizing on alternative lifestyles and incessant branding that permeates the fashion industry, it’s difficult to carve out a public forum to discuss the cultural, political and intellectual importance of what we wear. But the director and chief curator of the Museum at FIT, Valerie Steele is doing a good job as one of the few public personas who speak openly about the importance of clothing and adornment and her latest show on style icon Daphne Guinness.
The owners of BravinLee aren’t satisfied with simply selling art to hang on the walls. In a new initiative, they’re expanding their inventory to include art to put underneath the coffee table.
In Vaughan’s new book, Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War, the author attempts to prove that Chanel actually worked for German military intelligence during World War II. That’s right, folks, the maker of your fabulous quilted purses was a Nazi Spy!