FIT’s “Fashion Undone” Explores Deconstruction

In What's New, Industry News by Lauren Parker, Accessories Magazine

Deconstructed, unfinished and repurposed fashion is so prevalent today that we sometimes need to be reminded how radical a concept it is, especially at the luxury level. Exposed seams and threads, crinkled leathers, seemingly haphazard patchworks are all on display at “Fashion Undone” at the Museum at F.I.T., running through November 17, 2018.

Yohji Yamamoto, dress, muslin and cotton, spring 2000, Japan. Photo: Eileen Costa

Unfinished works, however, deliberate, also gives consumers a behind-the-scenes (or SEAMS) look at how a garment was constructed. Deconstruction for construction overview.

Oscar de la Renta, dress, tweed, ostrich feathers, and beads, 2002

Fashion designers also show an item’s origins through repurposing it in a visible way., and by the 1990s, repurposing was often used to make a statement about overconsumption and obsolescence in fashion. A colorful 1966 jumpsuit designed and worn by Betsey Johnson was cleverly remade from rugby shirts worn by her then-partner, musician John Cale.

Comme des Garçons T-shirt Cotton knit, 1983, Japan.

Straight up distressed and deconstructed fashion has a deliberately worn or imperfect aesthetic — an increasingly important concept during  the latter half of the twentieth century. By the early 1980s, Rei Kawakubo’s work for her label Comme des Garçons took those ideas to a new extreme: a black knit T-shirt was intentionally faded, and its asymmetrical pieces were haphazardly assembled, leaving gaps and unfinished edges.

Maison Martin Margiela, boots, painted canvas, spring 1990, Belgium

Martin Margiela’s spring 1990 “tabi” boots were heavily varnished with thick white paint so they’d crack and deteriorate over time. The message? Fashion’s ephemerality.

Share your thoughts on the exhibit, not to mention your own undone fashion pieces at #fashionunraveled.

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