Fashioning San Francisco: A Century of Style is an exhibition at the de Young Museum that delves into the rich history of fashion in San Francisco. The showcase is curated from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s extensive collection, featuring more than 50 designers (Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Balmain, Comme des Garçons to name a few) of twentieth- and twenty-first-century high fashion and haute couture, making it one of the most significant holdings in the United States.

The exhibition explores the interplay between fashion and sociopolitical changes in San Francisco from the early 1900s to the present day. It highlights the strengths of the museum’s collection, emphasizing French haute couture and contemporary Japanese fashion design. The showcased clothing and accessories not only depict the evolution of women’s fashion over the years but also reflect the individual style choices of the wearers.

Generous donations from local activists, entrepreneurs, civic leaders, and philanthropists have contributed to the museum’s collection, shaping the exhibition’s narrative. The focus is on exploring specific histories manifested in each object, with additional loans from communities not traditionally engaged by the museum to broaden the narrative.

The exhibition unfolds through various themes, such as the aftermath of the Great Earthquake in 1906, where fashion played a role in reasserting individual and collective identities. It also explores the iconic “Little Black Dress” as a modern-day fashion staple born out of World War I’s impact on attire.

Other sections delve into the role of formal wear in the city’s philanthropic endeavors, the global aesthetic influences on fashion due to San Francisco’s diverse population, the transformation of the traditional suit, avant-garde fashion as art, and the symbolic significance of shoes in expressing identity.

To jazz up your experience, the de Young museum collaborated with Snapchat on an immersive AR experience, where  AR mirrors feature ensembles by Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, and Kaisik Wong, allowing visitors to virtually try on iconic designs. This innovative partnership marks Snap’s AR Mirrors debut in a US museum, blending technology, fashion, and culture to enhance the visitor experience!!

To learn more, watch the conversation exploring the nuances of cultural appropriation and appreciation in fashion that tookplace on the opening day of Fashioning San Francisco: A Century of Style

Dates: Jan 21 to august 22, 2024
Address: De Young Museum – 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco
Get tickets, click here


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