Thoughts at the Beginning of NYFW

It’s officially New York Fashion Week, and my social media is blowing up. In some respects I enjoy that there is so much coverage now, but I miss the days when content was edited before going online. The competitive spirit to post the designer collections before the next outlet shouldn’t drive reporters and editors to put up shoddy pictures and videos, clogging social media newsfeeds. That’s just my two cents.

New York Fashion Week has turned into a spectacle. In the past few years, the event’s focus has grown to include parties and shopping events, attendees (or wannabes), drama, and social media, that it’s not much of an industry preview anymore. It’s a global event, which is not entirely a bad thing. I like being able to get instant coverage of the collections from the comfort of home without a subscription to a pricey service. I attempt to tune out the extraneous.

The past few Fashion Weeks have seen such a backlash against bloggers and street style photography, so I’m curious to see what will happen this year. Will the circus environment that has been building finally subside, or will this year’s be the same or worse? At least where I sit, it seems a little more reserved than the recent past, but perhaps that is because I’ve tailored my online habits to avoid seeing the most annoying and ostentatious coverage. Although it is disconcerting to read so many editors, including Cathy Horn, lamenting gearing up to cover Fashion Week because of what it has turned into.

There is one bit of news that I’m really excited about — yesterday, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that the next Costume Institute exhibition will be “Charles James: Beyond Fashion.” James, the “Architect of Fashion” is known as one of the only American couturiers. He was a designer with incredible vision who built, yes built, some of the most incredible ballgowns the world has seen. He began his career as a milliner in Chicago and rose to the top, designing couture for the most elite women in the world. Unfortunately ego and bad financial strategy were his undoing.

In grad school, I had the opportunity to de-install an exhibition at the Chicago History Museum featuring two James dresses, and I’ll never forget the complexity of those dresses when we took them off their mannequins. They could have stood up on their own without a body supporting them — that’s how structured each gown was. Amazing.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Met handles James’ designs, career, and life. There is so much territory to explore, so I do hope that the exhibition delivers more than a spectacle of pretty dresses. I hope we learn how complex the dresses’ understructures were, how he evolved as a designer, and a bit about his life and relationships with clients, friends, family, and fellow designers.

What do you think about the future Charles James exhibition at the Met? And are you following any NYFW coverage or blocking it all out for the next week?

Art Madness

Columbus Museum of Art has a great Art Madness tournament going on right now on Facebook. A takeoff of the NCAA basketball tourney, the museum set up brackets featuring some of its most popular artwork from four different museum collections.

Each day two pieces went head to head when they were posted on Columbus Museum of Art’s Facebook wall. Whichever piece got the most likes moves on to the next round.

You can see the full bracket here.

Cornice, 1949 from Columbus Art Museum | The Breakfast, c 1885 from Columbus Art Museum

On Saturday, the Final Four match up was Cornice by George Tooker vs. The Breakfast by Edgar Degas, as seen above, and Sidewalk Clock, NYC by female photographer Ida Wyman vs. Nocturne Navigator also known as the Blue Lady by Alison Saar, as seen below.

Sidewalk Clock, NYC, 1947 from Columbus Art Museum | Nocturne Navigator, 1998 from Columbus Art Museum

Today is the final championship. To get in on the action, like Columbus Museum of Art’s page and like your favorite piece between the top two.