So long as there are dresses that retail for the price of a Picasso, there will be exhibitions trumpeting fashion as art. This week, Location One is hosting “Open Stitch,” where 15 young artists and designers without financial backing are working in “intense workshop” conditions to create clothes that will then be turned into an installation (which runs from Sept. 14-30) and then a runway show (to be held Oct. 1). The artists are free to make whatever they want, but only out of the fabrics that are handed to them by the show’s organizers.

Starting Sept. 17, the Matthew Marks Gallery plays host to Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin’s new exhibit, “The Now People, Part Two: Life on Earth.” For the uninitiated, van Lamsweerde and Matadin are the intimidatingly beautiful and intimidatingly talented married couple whose artsy fashion spreads appear in French Vogue, W and Harper’s Bazaar.

This show, however, has ambitions beyond rising or falling hemlines. “It’s about the hope that at some point soon the combination of politics and spirituality will be cool again with young people,” says van Lamsweerde. To that end, she and her partner have done an installation that employs the “visual language” of today (stickers, posters, graffiti, etc.) to “relay a message of peace and love” in an age in which spirituality has become “completely unappealing” because of the way “Bush uses the word God to a point where it’s lost all meaning…”

Is all that too heady for you? Well, then try “Dressing a Galaxy,” on Thursday at 6 p.m., for an exhibit that features — what else? — the costumes from “Star Wars.” One night only.

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