From pride in one’s tribe to care of the land to a deep respect for nature, Native American culture continues to resonate - for obvious reasons - for many non-Native Americans. Including fashion designers. Which an upcoming exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum will explore. "From vibrant street clothing to exquisite haute couture, this exhibition will celebrate the visual range, creative expression and political nuance of Native American fashion," explains the curator of Native Fashion Now, which encompasses almost 100 works spanning the last 50 years of Native American fashion designers, style-makers and mavericks making their distinctive mark. "Also examined is how non-Native designers adopt and translate traditional Native American design motifs in their own work, including Isaac Mizrahi's now iconic Totem Pole Dress."
The exhibition intends cross cultural boundaries and traverse the murky ground that separates creative expression from cultural borrowing, including an ensemble designed for the finale of Project Runway by Patricia Michaels (of the Taos Pueblo) to the work of Jamie Okuma (Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock) to Christian Louboutin's fancy footwear.
And in a time when the boundaries of identity shift as quickly as the click of a mouse - or right/left swipe of a finger - clothes still make the (wo)man. So the question is, of course: at every click and swipe along the way, who, then, is she?
Native Fashion Now will be on display from November 21, 2015 through March 6, 2015. Info & tix at PEM.org.
- Lesley Scott
photos: Larry Lamsa
NOTE: Honoring the past to help us pave the way forward fashionwise is a signature of the Folkspun fashion tribe. For more of my posts about this tribe, CLICK HERE. To learn more about each of fashion's four mega-tribes that I track, START HERE.