September Style

Fall’s Passion For Fashion
Thom Browne Selects

September is an exciting month for fashion in New York, with new fall styles in evidence on the streets as soon as the weather cools down. It’s a great time to check out the city’s museum offerings on the subject, represented here by three very different but equally fascinating shows:

Uniformity at The Museum at FIT 
Uniforms are not generally considered the most stylish of clothes, yet their influence on high fashion is undeniable. The exhibition Uniformity, currently at the Museum at FIT, explores how this most commonplace form of dress has shaped the work of Chanel, John Paul Gaultier, and many other designers. The show is organized into four categories: military, work, school, and sports. Within each, traditional uniforms are shown alongside the fashionable looks they inspired. This makes for some intriguing pairings, such as the 1998 skirt and vest ensemble by Comme des Garçons juxtaposed with a U.S. Army World War I service uniform. We also see how fashion borrowed uniform elements such as epaulettes, camouflage, and braiding from the military, or replaced traditional sports insignias with company logos such as Gucci. Of course, the relationship between uniforms and fashion is regularly manifested when certain clothing styles (Goth, Hip Hop) can become veritable uniforms as members of the same tribe tend to sport similar looks. (Through 11/19; Seventh Ave. at 27th St.)

Thom Browne: Selects at the Cooper Hewitt 
Thom Browne: Selects is the 13th exhibition in the Cooper Hewitt’s ongoing “Selects” series, in which prominent designers, artists and architects mine the museum’s collection of more than 210,000 objects and offer their own interpretations. Designer Browne, known mainly for menswear, has created an immersive installation that explores the ideas of reflection and individuality through the use of over 50 historic and contemporary mirrors and frames. On display are ornate 18th-century French gilt bronze frames, brass and fruitwood frames by Hector Guimard, and mirrors by designers including Edgar Brandt, Jim Dine and Tommi Parzinger. According to Browne, his use of mirrors gives the viewer “the idea that his or her reflection is a work of art.” Building on the theme, the show also includes 56 pairs of Browne’s reflective nickel-plated shoes and holographic reflective wallpaper by Osborne & Little on the room’s walls and floors. (Through 10/23; 2 E. 91st. St. at Fifth Ave.)

Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion at El Museo del Barrio
A highly influential fashion illustrator from the 1960s through the 1980s, Antonio Lopez collaborated with designers such as Charles James and Karl Lagerfeld; created illustrations for magazines including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Andy Warhol’s Interview; and had close relationships with fashion-world gurus Pat Cleveland, Grace Jones, and Tina Chow, among others, before dying of complications related to AIDS at age 44. Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion at El Museo del Barrio is an exhibition of his highly distinctive work, which often represented the ethnic or racialized body within the world of high fashion. His bold new imagery helped usher in a new ideal of beauty throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The show is organized into four themes: high fashion illustration, Lopez’s relationship with certain models, his shoe and jewelry designs, and images of people he knew from the streets of New York. Born in Puerto Rico, Lopez migrated to the city with his family at age seven and attended grade school just a few blocks from El Museo. It’s fitting that he is being honored in the neighborhood that undoubtedly provided early inspiration. (Through 11/26; 1230 Fifth Ave. at 104th St.)