Market Week Culture: “Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” at the Museum of the City of NY

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

Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip

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Coming to New York for January Market Week and NY Women’s at the Javits? If you’re staying a bit longer for culture and trendspotting, may we suggest Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip, now on view at the Museum of the City of New York.

This colorful exhibit captures an equally colorful bygone era, immersing visitors in the sights, sounds, and trends of the 1960s to chronicle the American fashion revolution as designed and worn on the streets of New York City.

Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip

Naturally ’68 photo shoot in the Apollo Theater featuring Grandassa models and AJASS founding members (except the photographer, Kwame Brathwaite), at center from left: Frank Adu, Elombe Brath, and Ernest Baxter. Photo: Kwame Brathwaite © 1962, Courtesy of the photographer and the Museum of the City of New York

The 60s challenged, rejected, and reimagined traditions for the restless next generation, yet the decade far exceeds the iconic miniskirt, brilliant colors or boho spirit.  Arranged in four sections, First Lady Fashion; Youthquake; New Bohemia; and New Nonchalance, the show addresses how 1960 -1973 style reflected the country’s tumultuous era (think the emergence of the counterculture, women’s lib movement, rise of African-American consciousness and more). 

“Mod New York tells two interrelated stories. It looks at the radical and transformative world of fashion during the 1960s, and it shows how these new fashions coincided with major changes in American culture, including the rise of a youth-oriented counterculture to the tumult of the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, and a new feminism. New York City was the site where both of these revolutions played out,”

–Donald Albrecht, Curator of Architecture and Design, co-curator.

Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip

Tiger Morse, Dress of vinyl, ca. 1965. Museum of the City of New York

Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip

Geoffrey Beene for Beene Bazaar. Dress of cotton patchwork with striped and printed overskirt, 1968–69. Museum of the City of New York.

The exhibit features more than 70 garments drawn primarily from the Museum’s Costume Collection, with works by designers like Mary Quant, Geoffrey Beene, Pauline Trigère, and Yves Saint Laurent. Trends reflected range from Beatlemania to Pop and Op Art to “space age” infatuation, antiwar movements and more. Also on display are fine and costume jewelry, shoes, handbags, design renderings, and photographs that capture the spirit of a creative and confrontational era.

Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip

Sikolo Brathwaite wearing a beaded hairpiece by designer Carolee Prince, ca. 1967. Photograph by Kwame Brathwaite © 1962, Courtesy of the photographer and the Museum of the City of New York

Fine jewelry is also explored, showing how Cartier and Tiffany & Co. adapted to the new era. Tiffany adopted a a playful style while Cartier symbolized the New Nonchalance aesthetic with humor and wit (think the screwed-on Love bracelet and nail jewelry).

There’s even a costume party at New York’s Rizzoli Bookstore, 1133 Broadway, on January 18th to celebrate the publication of “Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” by Phyllis Magidson and published by The Monacelli Press.

www.mcny.org.

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