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The Art of Fashion in Mexico, 1940-2015

Start Date 01 May 2016
End Date 25 September 2016
Venue Historical Palacio de Iturbide
Location Mexico City, Mexico
Curator Juan Coronel Rivera

The National Bank of Mexico through Fomento Cultural Banamex, AC, the Ministry of Culture through the General Directorate of Popular Cultures and the National Institute of Anthropology and History, El Palacio de Hierro and Vogue México present the exhibition El arte de la clothing and fashion in Mexico, 1940-2015.

Clothing has always been considered a code through which behaviours, a certain social status or explicit membership in a certain group or culture can be defined. It was in the 19th century, with the concept of “total art”, when she began to represent something else: a means of communication, a language articulated by signs, sometimes imperceptible and that nevertheless are decipherable almost at a glance. Already in the twentieth century, it can be said that clothing is part of the idiosyncrasy of a people and that it reflects their culture and way of being.

This exhibition presents to the public the great textile wealth developed in the country around clothing and fashion. In Mexico fibres have been woven for clothing for about two thousand years. Once the crossbreeding, that thread that weaves us, our identity became concrete. The garments exhibited here have baskets of indigenous and European roots, and to a lesser extent, Arab, Asian and African.

The clothing speaks of tradition, of the cultural canon. In Mexico, during the first half of the 20th century, there were at least 69 indigenous peoples, in which the entire community wore distinctive clothing. The post-revolutionary period rescued these textile contributions and incorporated them into the concept of nation that ruled for the rest of the century. At the same time, since the 1940s, the recognition of the first fashion designers-creators began, both of an international nature and those that proposed a connection with the roots, which would continue to succeed and consolidate its importance throughout the century. From that coexistence between indigenous clothing and western fashion emerged a stylistic enrichment in both directions, and these became part of our aesthetic heritage.

This is the first exhibition in which, face to face, the cultures that make us up make us see their origins and their artistic contemporaneity. Until now, national fashion and clothing, seen as a whole, have been little reviewed and have remained almost on the sidelines both in showrooms and in academia. By placing them as a counterpoint, a dialogue is generated that reveals a culture in its essence.

The art of clothing and fashion in Mexico, 1940-2015 is a pioneering exhibition of its kind in a Mexican museum. It seeks to show two parallel speeches that at times meet: clothing and fashion as communicating glasses that nourish each other and in dialogue generate the cultural vision of a country through its way of dressing.

This is not an ethnographic sample, but an aesthetic vision of one of the fundamental features of the original groups: clothing.