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Live From Nagoya: MFA Boston's Icons of Style

OK, the title is a bit of a lie since this happened a week ago and I'm only finding the time to post now after meeting Murakami, visiting Noguchi's Japanese studio, traveling to one of the most beautiful places on the planet and just now finding myself in Kyoto paying 42 yen/minute for internet connection in my hotel room, jamming out to J-Pop R&B. But that's all besides the point.

Last Thursday, the Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Art opened the Icons of Style exhibit, or as it's translated in Japanese "What's an Icon of Style?". The exhibit features 156 pieces of clothing, photography and illustrations from the MFA's textile and fashion arts archive. While there was very little I had not seen back in Boston as far as clothing goes, there were plenty of incredible works of illustration and fashion photography that I've never experienced in such a way before.

Curator Lauren Whitley executed the show with four complimentary elements: Creation (Art of the Designer), Collaboration (The Icon-Designer Collaboration, i.e. celebrities and designers like Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, Lagerfeld and Winona Ryder, and a dress designed for Princess Diana by Japanese designer Yuki), The Art of Fashion Illustration (A Brief History, featuring the likes of Kenneth Paul Block, images from Gazette du Bon Ton circa 1914-1922 and several designer sketches) and The Art of Fashion Photography (featuring Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon, just to mention a few). The blend of designer vision and execution followed by the translation of clothing through the eyes of photographers and celebrities speak volumes about how fashion is perceived. While the show is only running in Nagoya, here's a little flavor of the exhibit.


1. Sketch and gown - Olivier Theyskens for Rochas 

2. Versace Dress, Back View, El Mirage - Herb Ritts

3. Azzedine Alaia

4. Variety of mid-20th Century illustrations

5. Sketches, gown and the man himself with curator Lauren Whitley - Yuki [ed. note - this dress is Yuki's claim to fame]

6. Variety of Kenneth Paul Block illustrations

7. Gown and dress - Christian Lacroix for Jean Patou

8. Paula Gellibrand, Marquise de Casa Maury - Cecil Beaton

9. Audrey Hepburn in Costume From "Breakfast at Tiffanys" - Kenneth Paul Block

10. Rodarte, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Helmut Lang mens, Helmut Lang womens, Yojhi Yammamoto, Chanel

Bottom image from Nagoya/Boston MFA; all other images by LPK

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