Whether puffed, ruffled, split, or sheer, statement sleeves have been a ubiquitous fashion trend for the past decade. These dramatic, contemporary creations can enliven and update a wardrobe, yet many current sleeve styles have cycled in and out of fashion for decades, if not centuries. Although sleeves can be especially challenging to make, they also inspire countless creative ideas.
Statement Sleeves takes an original approach to the history of fashion. The selected garments date from the 18th century to the present, but they are not presented chronologically. They are instead organized by type. Following an introduction to basic sleeve shapes–from gigot to raglan–visitors will encounter the myriad ways in which designers have reinterpreted and remixed sleeves through variations in material, shape, embellishment, and even functionality. More than sixty styles, all from the museum’s permanent collection, emphasize how sleeves hold the power to define a look–in both the past and present.