FASHION’S MOST SIGNIFICANT ITEMS THAT THE WORLD HAS WORN FOR THE PAST TWO CENTURIES.
How do you identify the most historically and socially important pieces of clothing of modern times? It’s quite a task. Paola Antonelli, curator of Items: Is Fashion Modern?, NY’s MoMA latest exhibition, started simply by listing “garments that changed the world” …
Levi’s 501 jeans, the little black dress, the Rolex; the bucket hat, the Birkin; the perfecto jacket, the balaclava: Antonelli and her team become obsessed with recording outfits they spotted around New York subways and began to write down their list of 111 fashion’s most significant items.
The result is a broad survey of what the whole world has worn for the past two centuries.
“What we wear a it’s our first interface with the world and, as such, it’s a crucially important area of design to interrogate”, says Antonelli, “what we wear it’s tied intimately with issues of culture, politics, environment and power”.
Antonelli commissioned five contemporary photographers from Senegal, New York, London, Tokyo and Johannesburg, to photograph the items on the list for the exhibition’s accompanying catalogue “Items: Is Fashion Modern?”.
These pictures take the world-changing garments into places we’re used to seeing them, like pavements, marketplaces or styled glossy advertisements.
The way photographers captured the items on their lists was influenced not only by their own tastes and upbringing, but also by how the garment is viewed within the culture they grew up in!
Whether you’re walking through the exhibition or leafing through the accompanying catalogue, it’s hard not to want some of these clothes for yourself.
Items: Is Fashion Modern? runs until January 28, 2018 at MoMA, New York.