This past week the world’s eyes were on the fashion on the red carpet outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala. So it was easy to forget that the fashion show being celebrated is inside the New York museum: there’s a new exhibition, Charles James: Beyond Fashion.
That exhibit explores the spectacularly innovative work of the couturier who brought us the down jacket, the strapless gown and the wrap dress—it opened yesterday and is sure to be crowded this weekend.
You can visit the Charles James show until August 10. But here are four other fabulous fashion exhibits around the globe that will close later this month. Check them out while you still can.
Chicago: Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair at the Chicago History Museum, through May 11
In 1958, Eunice Johnson founded the traveling Ebony Fashion Fair to bring high fashion to African-American audiences, who were then excluded from many ateliers and shows. The fair lived on for 50 years, and Johnson, who was married to publisher and Ebony magazine founder John Johnson, bought over 7,000 pieces of clothing and accessories (some for her personal collection), spending up to $1.5 million per year. Ms. Johnson, who died in 2010, was a revolutionary with extraordinary taste, and the Chicago History Museum has done her collection justice, devoting one of its largest exhibitions ever to her splashy collection of European and American fashion, and the story behind it.
Kyoto: Future Beauty: The Tradition of Reinvention in Japanese Fashion, through May 11
The work of avant-garde Japanese designers like Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto is white hot, and consumers rave about most things artisanal. This touring exhibit links the two trends, looking at traditional Japanese craftsmanship and its contemporary innovators, including Issey Miyake, Kenzo Takada, as well as Kawukubo and Yamamoto. Future Beauty has already made stops in London, Seattle, Tokyo, and Munich and will head to Brisbane in November.
London: Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol at the Fashion and Textile Museum, through May 17
Collaborations between the fashion and art worlds may seem like a contemporary phenomenon, designed to create buzz in the blogosphere. But cross-pollination between artists and designers has been going on for decades, as evidenced by the 200-plus textiles on display at the Fashion and Textile Museum. See furniture fabrics by a young Lucian Freud, surrealist ties by Salvador Dali, and a dress that great American sportswear designer Claire McCardell made out of Picasso-printed fabric.
Zurich: Miles Aldridge: The Age of Pleasure at the Christopher Guye Galerie, through May 24
British photographer Miles Aldridge’s vivid, saturated images tend to toe the line between high-gloss and grotesque, often featuring vacant-eyed women in bright, tight clothing. Fashion editors at magazines like Vogue and Bazaar champion Aldridge’s work. So do fellow artists like David Lynch and Marilyn Manson, whose films and music carry a similar allure to Aldridge’s vivid photographs—creating worlds that are mildly disturbing, but wholly fascinating.