She Get It From Her Mama
Collection No. 1 utilizes fashion as a reflection of culture, a physical embodiment of the experiences of a generation of women. The collection includes vintage clothing, jewelry, shoes, handbags, and a selection of objects from the mid 1970s to the 1990s.
The collection begins when our Mamas were in High School, including a 1970s turtleneck long sleeve, homemade prom dress. This piece demonstrates the frequency with which women designed and created their own clothing, resulting in one-of-a-kind garments. For our mothers it was a necessity due to lack of both monetary funds and retail options. With the influx of cheaper manufacturing methods and the fast fashion industry, the originality of this process is virtually non-existent today. Garment making is a skillset most women no longer learn.
As our Mamas became young professionals in the early 1980s, we see a reflection of the influx of females in the workforce with the fashion industry’s emphasis on women’s suits. Pants are predominate over dresses in the collection, bringing forth the power suit trends of menswear and oversized jackets. In 1983 as these trends became mainstream, the influence of designer Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking suit was recognized when Saint Laurent became the first living fashion designer to be honored by the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a solo exhibition of his work. Le Smoking originally debuted in 1966, a tuxedo-style suit, controversial in a time when the perception of women wearing pants was considered scandalous.
As the collection moves to the mid-1980s, we commemorate the style typically associated with this time period. Pieces include sparkling metallic jewelry and accessories, graphic knit sweaters, leather jackets and patchwork handbags. Big earrings and strong shoulder pads are also prominent, reminiscent of the forcible fashion photography editorials during this time. Accessories in the collection include influences from pop music stars showing the impact of the rise of the female solo recording artist, achieving notoriety both for their music and employing their personal style to personify their sexuality. This period embodies a time when our Mamas were young, charming, out on the town, defiant, and brave.
As we move into the late 1980s and early 1990s we see influences in American Sportswear adopted from the loose-fitting clothing and monochromatic colors of Japanese designers. Clothing became noticeably less form-fitting offering a practical alternative for women balancing both professional and family lives.
As the 1990s emerged, our Mamas were starting their families in a time of economic recession. The trend-driven styles of the 80s were toned down in preference for timeless pieces and neutral colors. Influences from the 90s collections of Creative Director Martin Margiela at Hermès, Giorgio Armani, Prada, and Calvin Klein can be seen in the collection. Music continued to have a strong influence on fashion, and pieces including chokers, chains, and windbreakers channel the grunge and hip hop movements of the decade. One particular showpiece in the collection is a snapshot of Mary J. Blige in the backseat of a sedan with her backup dancers, around the time of the release of her first album.