This spring, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) presents fashion after Fashion, an exhibition that seeks to redefine the term “Fashion” by presenting the work of six designer teams who are thinking—and making us think—about fashion anew. Featuring some of the most innovative work being produced in the context of contemporary fashion, with new commissions by Eckhaus Latta and Alexa Karolinski, ensæmble, Lucy Jones, Ryohei Kawanishi, Henrik Vibskov, and SSAW Magazine, fashion after Fashion focuses on commissioned, site-sensitive installations to offer an experience that is immersive, affective and mentally stimulating. With no mannequins in sight, the exhibition considers fashion as an expanded field of practice that is determined by concept and context, incorporating performance, photography, video and sculpture.
The exhibition uses “fashion” (in the lowercase) to signal a more reflective, concerned and creative process that is not determined solely by commerce and passing trends. The practitioners included in fashion after Fashion call into question the state and nature of “Fashion” (in the uppercase) and challenge some of its main constructs, including the myth of the individual designer as author, short-lived and commodity-driven products, gendered dressing, ideal bodies and waste.
Fashion is a shared endeavor between creators, producers and wearers, a message that is fundamental to the newly commissioned film by Eckhaus Latta and Alexa Karolinski. Set in a bathroom, Coco features a cast diverse in age, gender and race, wearing outfits from the Eckhaus Latta fall/winter 2017 collection while answering questions from a deck of cards. Their responses remind us that fashion can exist within the intimate and empathetic interactions between strangers and friends, rather than as a mere by-product of our hypersaturated visual and consumer culture.
ensæmble’s sculptural installation, titled INSIDE, draws attention to the insides of garments, studying their hidden structures, volumes and details, not just their external appearance. Using materials like plaster, wood, metal, and textiles, ensæmble creates sculptures that feature the intimate relationships that occur in the daily interactions between bodies and the garments that clothe them.
The exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Design is on view from April 26 to August 6, 2017. Learn more at madmuseum.org.