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Dress Up Story – 1990 Until Now

Start Date 19 May 2015
End Date 13 September 2015
Venue SCAD Museum of Art
Location Savannah, Georgia. USA
Curator André Leon Talley
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins with back of head of figure in foreground viewing display
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins with paintings in the background

SCAD Museum of Art presents “Dress Up Story — 1990 Until Now,” an exhibition of iconic designs from the oeuvre of the doyenne of fashion, Dame Vivienne Westwood, curated by André Leon Talley. Westwood is the recipient of the 2015 André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award. Both the award and the exhibition are presented in conjunction with the annual SCAD Fashion Show. 

Spanning from Westwood’s groundbreaking “Cut, Slash and Pull” collection through her current “Dress Up Story,” the exhibition highlights more than 25 designs Westwood realized in collaboration with her creative partner and husband, Andreas Kronthaler. 

Westwood is known as a maverick, artist and activist, and the exhibition features garments, accessories and fashion show footage that highlight her innovative patternmaking, inherent understanding of fabric and technique. Westwood has a masterful knowledge of color and combines unique fabric patterns and materials with a sharp eye pointed at both fashion and British history. “My clothes are more subversive than they’ve ever been,” Westwood said. “In a world of conformity, they offer a real choice.” Westwood’s work is embedded in the issues and culture of its time, ranging from her well-known participation in shaping the punk movement in London to her work as an activist for environmental issues. Westwood’s work has remained anchored in history as she skillfully draws from the past to deconstruct and rearrange elements into new and surprising creative designs.

The exhibition design takes inspiration from an eccentric English party: “A postmodern romp of a weekend party where the swells meet the activists, where the rogues go vogue, and the vogues go rogue,” Talley said. Selections from SCAD Museum of Art’s Earle W. Newton collection of British and American paintings hung salon-style create a backdrop for the revolutionary flair of Westwood’s designs. Westwood added, “Our costumes are romantic and theatrical, inspired by history. We know the characters they belong to. Whoever chooses to wear them recreates the clothes in her own image, making them classics. She inhabits a parallel world — like this one but more ideal. Andreas and I have been designing for 25 years, living and working together. It’s our story. We always dress up.”

Images courtesy of SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia. USA