Chanel, Lanvin

Chanel, Lanvin

Fashion Offers a Lot to Learn in New Exhibitions in New York

Learn the history behind brands like Chanel and Lanvin at these new NY fashion exhibitions.


Learn the history behind brands like Chanel and Lanvin at these new NY fashion exhibitions.

Rather than just admire fashion, visitors are meant to consider the stories behind the fashion on view.

With 8 million French men away at the front, women replaced men in many positions. To try to squelch the advancement of women’s suffrage and other freedoms, the French government did not provide uniforms for those public service jobs. Women, in turn, wore their own dresses and skirt suits with armbands or hats signaling their status. When Paul Poiret and Jean Patou fought for their country, Gabrielle Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin and Jeanne Paquin were among the female designers who gained attention. When the show bows on Sept. 5, two rare examples of early Chanel archives — a silk jersey blouse from 1916 and a hat from spring 1917, will be shown in the U.S. for the first time. Historians Maude Bass-Krueger and Sophie Kurkdjian have curated the show. Visitors will see for themselves how wartime fashions represented a new practicality with the rise of the skirt suit, the introduction of pockets, and the use of “sportswear” textiles like jersey. Stretching over three floors, the exhibition will be on view through Jan. 5.

Charlene Morrow, chairperson of Origami USA and the exhibit’s co-curator, said this is the first exhibition of its kind in North America to focus on mathematical themes. Given the interest level, discussions are under way to stage the show in other cities, she said. “Certainly, origami is influencing a lot of different disciplines so fashion is one. Science is another and architecture is another. It seems to be a very attractive thing for anybody who works in an area that involves anything structural.”

In addition to starting the Cooper Union’s origami club as an undergrad, she did a post-grad research project at Cornell University analyzing the mechanical properties of a couple of folding structures. There, she met Freni, who was then a fashion student, and agreed to collaborate. Nguyen first created designs by experimenting with freehand folds on paper. Her work has required precise calculations and crease pattern designs finessed on a computer.

Read more: WWD

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