MoMA embraces fashion for second time in 'Items: Is Fashion Modern?'

The Museum of Modern Art last devoted a show to clothes in 1944.

Basic briefs and everyday wardrobe icons come under the spotlight at Items: Is Fashion Modern? — a new exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition comes 70 years after the museum’s first and only other fashion-focused exhibition in 1944 — Are Clothes Modern? — showcased man’s relationship with mid-century clothing at the end of WWII. The current exhibition widens the scope by spotlighting individual pieces and showing how their contributions to culture and design have evolved over time and within society.

Items: Is Fashion Modern? explores the present, past — and sometimes the future — of 111 items of clothing and accessories that have had a strong impact on the world in the 20th and 21st centuries, which continue to hold currency today. Among them are pieces as well known and transformative as Levi’s 501s, Lululemon yoga pants, Calvin Klein briefs and as ancient and culturally charged as the sari, the pearl necklace, the kippah, and the keffiyeh. Interestingly, the exhibits include pieces from Japanese lifewear company Uniqlo’s collaboration with Hana Tajima.

The museum also invited designers, engineers and manufacturers to respond to some of these indispensable items with pioneering materials, approaches, and techniques —extending the conversation into the near and distant future and connecting the history of these garments with their present recombination and use. Driven by objects, not designers, the exhibition considers the many relationships between fashion and functionality, culture, aesthetics, politics, labour, identity, economy and technology.

Items: Is Fashion Modern? runs until Jan 28, 2018. Visit for more information.

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