DENTON (UNT), Texas - Folklore of the American frontier can bring about images of dusty settlers migrating across barren land or the conquest and settlement of Native American territories – but, the American West also sparked the imaginations of American, Native American and international fashion designers.
The Texas Fashion Collection at the University of North Texas is exploring designer interpretations of that era in an exhibition from April 13 (Friday) to June 17 (Sunday) titled “West Dressed.” It will be held at NorthPark Center, located at 8687 North Central Expressway in Dallas, during normal business hours – Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
“Often portrayed as a series of stereotypes, the America West is ever-present in our visual and material culture,” said Annette Becker, director of the TFC. “Those tropes impact the ways that people think of our region and the ways that we think about ourselves. I appreciate this opportunity to examine the role that fashion plays in that cultural imagination and how designers have both reinforced and resisted typical tropes relating to that time.”
The exhibition will feature designers who have appreciated and appropriated American West and Native American tradition and craft.
“Chanel and Lanvin designs represent Parisian haute couture that include fine embroidery, fabric design and knitting,” Becker said. “Dresses by Todd Oldham and Zandra Rhodes show innovation with textile design and pop culture-focused prints.”
But Becker is most excited about two new ensembles by Native American designers.
“We acquired a Jamie Okuma digitally printed ensemble that features her modernized versions of traditional beadwork and a Marisa Mike evening dress that incorporates Pendelton wool blankets into the bodice,” Becker said. “To my knowledge, these are the first ensembles by known Native designers to enter the TFC’s collection of nearly 20,000 garments and accessories.”
For more information on the event, visit https://tfc.unt.edu/exhibitions/current.