Ways of Seeing: Fashion

/ Exhibitions

Christian Dior, France, New York and Paris, est. 1946, Ladies’ Hat, tulle, mohair, feathers and plastic beads, 1965–1969; Bequest of
Sybil Noble Murray, 2000.240

What is fashion? The dictionary defines it as a popular trend, especially in styles of dress and ornament. But, what is it really and what does it mean to us? Everyone deals with fashion in some way everyday. Even people who say they don’t care about fashion choose what they wear and how they wear it. And whether they know it or not, these choices say a lot about them.

Fashion reveals who we are. It is affected by politics, religion, culture, social norms, and body type. It can cause us to be included or excluded. It prompts us to conform and it celebrates diversity. It reinforces stereotypes and allows us to play different roles.

Frederic Remington, American, 1861–1909, An East-Side Politician, about 1894, pen and ink and watercolor; Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Harold E. Simon, 1976.64.

The Italian designer Miuccia Prada once said, “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world … Fashion is instant language.” This language of fashion says many things without us ever having to say anything at all. Let’s explore.

Opening April 13, 2019, Ways of Seeing: Fashion explores how fashion has been documented over the years through art. It is the latest in a series of six consecutive exhibitions in the Bohorfoush Gallery highlighting themes, perspectives, and ideas from across the Museum’s global art collections.

Unknown maker, Chinese, Showa period (1926–1989), Children’s Slippers, about 1930, silk, cotton and cardboard; Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Gift of Paul and Carolynn Mohney, AFI.380.2010a-b








Ways of Seeing: Fashion is presented by Style Yourself Chic with Megan LaRussa and made possible by the City of Birmingham.