Mint Museum Uptown pays homage to fashion history with ‘magical installation’ | WFAE 90.7

A special exhibit will be unveiled at the Mint Museum Uptown on Saturday, December 10. Titled “Fashion Reimagined: Themes and Variations, 1760-NOW,” the installation celebrates 50 years since the founding of his fashion collection by what is now the Mint Museum. Auxiliary.

Senior curator of crafts, design and fashion at the Mint Museum and curator of the exhibit, Annie Carlano, said she hopes visitors leave with both knowledge and feeling.

“I want people to be amazed by the incredible beauty and creativity of these design solutions for decorating the body,” she said.

Fashion Reimagined will feature 50 fashion ensembles chosen from thousands in the museum’s collection and will follow three themes: Minimalism, Pattern and Decoration and The Body Reimagined.

“They’re going to experience these three different strains of historicism that permeate fashion history,” Carlano said. “They should feel what it is, as well as look and see all these details and think about what these dresses say about when they were made.”

Tae Smith, the fashion and textile restorer and dresser behind the exhibit, hopes visitors will appreciate the detail in each piece.


Courtesy of the Currency Museum

“Evening sheath with matching scarf” is by French designer Madame Alix Gres.

“There’s so much craftsmanship that went into these clothes and just, you know, the embroidery, the hand sewing,” Smith said. “You can just look at a garment to stand in front of the garment for half an hour or an hour and just watch the construction of it.”

When dressing the models, Smith said there were a lot of things to consider, such as how the set looked from different angles, the substructures of the clothes, how they were meant to be worn and the preservation of the clothes themselves.

Highlights of the exhibition include a rare 1828 wedding ensemble by Italian fashion designer Maria Monaci Gallenga, dresses by Madame Gres and Oscar de la Renta, and men’s and women’s fashions by innovators from the 20th century like Coco Chanel and Giorgio Armani.

One of Carlano’s prides was acquiring the funds for a set of men’s clothing from Nigerian American designer, humanitarian and filmmaker Walé Oyéjidé, who uses creative storytelling to challenge prejudice. His designs have been featured in Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” exhibited in museums around the world, including Spain, Germany, the Netherlands — and now Charlotte.


Courtesy of the Currency Museum

A set of men’s clothing by Nigerian American designer, humanitarian and filmmaker Walé Oyéjidé is featured in the “Patterns and Decoration” section of the exhibition.

“It’s almost a social experiment to use beauty as a weapon against prejudice,” Oyéjidé said. “By presenting the most beautiful image possible, we are then forced to sort of discard any initial prejudices we may have towards the subject and ask ourselves what the human story is.”

Oyéjidé will present the North Carolina premiere of his documentary “After Migration: Calabria” at the Mint Museum on Saturday, December 10, as part of the festivities celebrating the opening of the exhibition.

While much of the museum’s collection focuses on American and European fashions, Carlano says they make a more focused effort to acquire pieces that reflect more global expressions of contemporary fashion. Fashion Reimagined will feature an ensemble by Indian fashion designer Anamika Khanna, making it the second museum in the United States to do so.

“I think it will come as a surprise to a lot of people, especially newcomers to Charlotte, how amazing our fashion collection is,” Carlano said. “It is on par with most major museums and deserves to be better known.”

Carlano says she thinks one of the hits will be an 1884 wedding dress purchased from LP Hollander and Company. The piece, which includes a bodice and skirt, is crafted from a variety of silk and satin and features faux pearl and lace detailing.

“I hope people are watching carefully and everything because again, out of thousands of items, these 50 were selected,” she said. “So they’re all extremely interesting in many ways.”


Courtesy of the Currency Museum

A set by Indian fashion designer Anamika Khanna will be one of 50 pieces on display at Fashion Reimagined.

Besides the sets, the exhibition will also include interactive elements. While visitors won’t be trying on clothes, “Shape Shifters” is a dressing room with magnetic shapes on the mirror that will allow them to imagine themselves in 18th and 19th century clothing.

The exhibition will also be accompanied by an illustrated catalog with contributions by Carlano; Lauren D. Whitley, independent scholar and curator; and Ellen C. Walker Show, director of the museum’s library and archives; and fashion designer Anna Sui.

There will be two videos on how men and women dressed in the 18th century, which Carlano says are wonderfully educational and entertaining. For families, there will be fashion books for children to read and spaces for them.

“I think it’s a magical installation. I’m so proud of the Mint, the amazing staff at the Mint who make this all possible, and the consultants,” said Carlano.

Exhibition information:

“Fashion Reimagined: Themes and Variations, 1760-NOW” will be on view December 10 through July 2, 2023, at the Mint Museum Uptown at the Levine Center for the Arts, 500 S. Tryon Street.

The exhibition is free for members and children 4 and under; $15 for adults; $10 for college students and seniors 65 and older; and $6 for ages 5 to 17.

The Currency Museum will have free entry all day on December 10 for the Currency Fashion Day celebration. Other events will include a panel discussion on reinvented fashion and a screening of Oyéjidé’s documentary “After Migration: Calabria”. More information here.

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