Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Folk Couture

Folk Art Inspires High Fashion

Folk art has inspired today’s fashions. As a record of time and place, folk art is, essentially, functional art that has been made beautiful. The American Folk Art Museum is hosting a traveling exhibit that bridges the gap between the two. The final installation of Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art runs from February 4 to April 29, 2018.

The exhibit, which has already been shown at the American Folk Art Museum in New York, the Huntsvilles Museum of Art in Alabama and the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Florida, features the work of more than a dozen designers who were inspired by folkart.

The Artists

The designers include Catherine Malandrino and Bibhu Mohapatra, among many others.

Malandrino’s designs bring together her native French couture with what has been called the street style of New York. Her iconic Flag Dress that features the American flag and is a statement about freedom, individuality, risk, fun, and open space, according to Malandrino.

She has designed a handkerchief dress that takes turn-of-the-century papercut with Odd Fellows symbols to a whole new level. Like the symbols, it too is meant to be a statement of fellowship and love.

A hand-held book of tattoo patterns gave Mohapatra insights into the stories tattoos can tell. Imagining a sailor at sea, he envisioned the body of water around the sailor to be like a woman. The result is a dress with suggestive tattoo designs beneath the garment’s watery organza surface. “She looks as if she has tattoos all over her body and this wave of organza is floating over. It is a dream, it is a reality, and it is also a fantasy,” said the Indian designer.

Special Program

Part of this unique exhibit includes a series of free talks by the designers who will give presentations on their respective folk art influences and artistic processes. For a complete schedule click here.

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