MAD SPRING FASHION: This spring’s Rei Kawakubo exhibition at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be a must for many, but the Museum of Arts and Design will be serving up three more options for the style-minded.
First up will be the March 2 opening of “Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in American Counterculture,” which will explore handmade designs from the Sixties and Seventies. Identified by many as the hippie movement, that period was a pushback from materialism and consumerism. During that time of Vietnam War protests, the Civil Rights movement and protests for gender and racial equality, young people turned to self-expression, shirking the more conventional styles embraced by their parents.
In advance of Dee Ocleppo’s capsule collection with Judith Leiber, MAD will stage “Judith Leiber: Crafting a New York Story” a retrospective that bows April 4 at the Columbus Circle museum. (Hilfiger revealed Tuesday that she has taken a stake in Leiber’s company and will serve as the brand’s co-owner, creative director and global brand ambassador.)
Starting with Leiber’s days in handbag design in Budapest before the outbreak of World War II and capping off with more iconic works such as trademarked animal-shaped minaudières, the retrospective will examine the practice and the person behind the company. In her 65-year career, Leiber has fine-tuned the ability to create handbags from start to finish, with an emphasis on European-style craftsmanship.
A devotee of art, travel and opera, Leiber creates bags with Art Deco–influenced hardware, materials such as Lucite and seashells, and references to the works of artists Piet Mondrian, Georges Braque and Sonia Delaunay. Having collaborated with Faith Ringgold on a collection of quilt-inspired handbags, further testimony to her appreciation of craftsmanship is seen in the handbag designer’s use of obis from Japan, Parsi ribbons from India and fabrics from Iran and Africa in other designs. The Leiber show ends on Aug. 6.
The third installment will be “Fashion After Fashion,” a six-label show spotlighting commissioned installations, sculpture and video pieces from Eckhaus Latta, Ensaemble, Lucy Jones, Ryohei Kawanishi, Henrik Vibskov and SSAW Magazine. Their work is meant to challenge the notions of the star designer, fast fashion, waste in the industry, gendered dressing and unrealistic body ideals. That component will open April 27 and will wrap up Aug. 6.