The American Folk Art Museum is about to unveil an interesting new exhibit involving fashion inspired by items in the museum's collection. Thirteen designers were invited to create original ensembles and inspiration was varied...and almost as interesting as the final garments.
- designer Chadwick Bell (below - all white pair of outfits) used as his inspiration a white bed cover crafted in the early 19th century
- a weathered religious woodcarving of a bleeding heart encircled by arrows piqued the the interest of Fabio Costa
-a pocket-sized book of tattoo designs intrigued Bibhu Mohapatra (above, far right)
- Michael Bastian (the outfit at right) was drawn to a countertop figure from the late 19th century of a man in a black suit and top hat
- intricate crewelwork & vintage kimonos were the foundation of Koos van den Akker's design (above, far left)
- while a dress (top) was inspired by a David Alvarez sculpture from the early 1980s of a porcupine. "What I like about Porcupine," notes fashion designer Jean Yu, "is that kind of tension, the modern and the primal. It gives me the kind of quality that I associate with folk art.” The resulting chiffon frock she fashioned boasts a spray of straw "quills" on the shoulder, taken from a broom she disemboweled to surprisingly cool look-but-don't-touch effect. “With the Porcupine," she continues, "you want to touch because it is such soft fur, but it also has this defense mechanism: not too close.”
I love the double handmade nature of this exhibition: both the inspiration, the folk art, which was made by hand and then using it to create something unusual and wonderful. Like the porcupine-inspired punk rock frock.
FOLK COUTURE: Fashion and Folk Art will be on display at the American Folk Art Museum from January 21 - April 23, 2014.
Here's the podcast I recorded about this:
Music: Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
- Lesley Scott