By design: Within MoMa’s first fashion-focused Series since 1944

A new exhibition examines fashion’s most iconic design items, and as Caitlin Agnew notes, allows visitors to shop the series

In the MoMA in New York, a new exhibition titled Things: Is Fashion Modern? Explores 111 pieces of clothes and accessories which have had an impact on 20th and 21st century life. Unlike a conventional style museum retrospective, which examines the trajectory of a specific designer’s career and influence, this group is driven by the status of these objects and considers the relationship between style and functionality, culture, aesthetics, politics, labour, identity, economy and engineering.

On display until January 2018, Things is the MoMA’s first fashion-focused exhibition since 1944. It showcases wardrobe building blocks like Levi’s 501s, the little black dress and the white T-shirt, fashion-forward styles such as the mini skirt, platform shoe and moon boot and bits with shifting political significance, such as the hijab, keffiyeh and lapel pin. Canada’s main design contribution to this group is the yoga pant, via a set of 1998 Boogie trousers by Vancouver’s Lululemon, in addition to the Team Canada 1976 women’s lawsuit to illustrate the participation of Australian swimwear firm Speedo.

“That is really more considering fashion as an expression of style,” says Emmanuel Plat, MoMA’s director of merchandising. “The lens for this exhibition is truly looking at items that changed the world and are so iconic that they became objects of style as opposed to simply garments.”

To accompany the exhibition, the MoMA Design Store has commissioned a product package with a choice of limited-edition items. There is a streak of 1,000 of the original 1937 design Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses that include a MoMA logo printed on the temple suggestion, in addition to a gray Champion hoodie with “MoMA” appliquéd throughout the front in collegiate decoration.

A favorite of Plat’s is the striped Breton shirt, or marinière, made by Armor-Lux, a French company that’s been producing the nautical classic since 1938, the first of which has 21 stripes to symbolize the 21 victories of Napleon. “In this instance it is interesting because there’s not a single company that claims to be the one which has originated it,” he says.

To create the choice of product, Plat worked closely with the museum’s curators to uphold the integrity of the series. “Our presence beside the exhibition is extremely discrete,” he says. “It might have been very tempting, but not too elegant, to just go for the easy path and generate a store of as many items as you see in this series.” And anything in the display that is not available to purchase in the MoMA, such as a Cartier Love necklace or a bottle of Chanel No 5, can probably be obtained just a few blocks away on Fifth Avenue.


  • Until January 30, 2018, Holt Renfrew is partnering with Bandier to establish an activewear shop-in-shop in its Bloor Street location in Toronto. With five U.S. boutiques and a worldwide e-commerce shop, Bandier carries over 50 brands with a health slant. In Holt Renfrew, Bandier will be supplying activewear, accessories, footwear and gifts in addition to fitness and wellness programming. To find out more, visit .
  • Nordstrom is welcoming direct-to-consumer new Everlane to its Pop-In@Nordstrom spaces in the downtown Vancouver and Toronto locations. Until Nov. 12, store some of Everlane’s best-selling pieces — such as their 100% Person Series that contributes $5 from each purchase to the ACLU — in shop at CF Pacific Centre, CF Eaton Centre and online. To find out more, visit .
  • French skincare brand L’Occitane has exploited American stationery company Rifle Paper Co.. To make a limited-edition collection. The Hand Cream Trio and Pure Shea Trio both feature custom art by innovative director and illustrator Anna Bond. The lines can be obtained throughout October in shops and online. To find out more, visit

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *