Two Fashion-themed Exhibitions to Open Spring 2013: April 26, 2013 to September 29, 2013

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Participating fashion designers in Front Row: Chinese American Designers include: Thomas Chen, David Chu, Melinda Eng, Jade Lai, Derek Lam, Wayne Lee, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Phillip Lim, Mary Ping, Peter Som, Anna Sui, Vivienne Tam, Yeohlee Teng, Zang Toi, Vera Wang, Jason Wu


The Museum of Chinese in America is pleased to announce a new season of fashion-centric exhibitions and programming. Front Row: Chinese American Designers and Shanghai Glamour: New Women 1910s-40s, will be on view from April 26, 2013 through September 29, 2013.


“Fashion at MOCA is part of a larger narrative exploring Chinese-American heritage across geographical and cultural boundaries. The two special exhibitions, Front Row and Shanghai Glamour focus on New York today and Shanghai in the early 20th century as global centers of fashion and commerce,” according to Helen Koh, the Museum’s Executive Director.


Front Row: Chinese American Designers


Front Row celebrates the achievements of New York’s Chinese American fashion designers since their emergence in the 1980s, just as the city was transforming its identity from a garment center into a major fashion capital. This exhibition features the diverse aesthetics of sixteen16 designers, showcasing iconic examples of each designer’s work. Front Row will also include videos interviews with the designers that draw upon personal reflections about their artistic visions and entrepreneurial paths. Front Row is guest-curated by designer Mary Ping for MOCA.


“The exhibition explores the ascent of Chinese American designers who have shaped what we now understand as not only New York fashion, but overall, a new American sense of style,” said Mary Ping, curator of Front Row.

Shanghai Glamour: New Women 1910s-40s


Shanghai Glamour explores the unique allure of early 20th century Shanghai as represented by women and their fashionable dress. The exhibition features stunning outfits ingeniously tailored for ladies who initiated styles to match their cosmopolitan lifestyle in the legendary East-meets-West metropolis. Highlights of the exhibition include twelve12 exquisite outfits from 1910s to 1940s on loan from the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou – on view for the first time in the United States – and three dresses from prominent New York private collections. They will be presented alongside over 50 accessories, posters, lifestyle magazines, and period images. Shanghai Glamour is guest-curated by scholar Mei Mei Rado for MOCA.

“Shanghai Glamour presents a fresh, alternative perspective to the iconic qipao by showcasing the actual diversity of modern dress styles embodying Shanghai’s cultural hybridity and cosmopolitanism. This exhibition offers a revealing take on the connection between fashion, modern femininity, and Shanghai,” said Mei Mei Rado, curator of Shanghai Glamour.
The exhibition will unfold thematically in sections featuring three feminine archetypes.


Femme Fatale features dress styles that were the embodiment of glamour and danger, associated with the images of seductresses captured in popular imagination and represented by courtesans, dancing hostesses, and movie stars who were trendsetters in that era.


Femme Savante encompasses various groups of educated new women, ranging from students to female writers and artists, whose allure was exuded from their cultural iconoclasm, intellectual vibe, and talents. Their social agency was articulated in their sartorial inventiveness and eccentricity.


Femme du Monde presents the elegant, sophisticated styles of society women, whose modern spirit and international flair exemplified the ideal femininity and embodied Shanghai cosmopolitanism.


Shanghai Glamour showcases the city’s modernity and inexhaustible energy for creation, channeled through women’s fashion flair. The fashion styles encapsulated many facets of this cosmopolitan city, reflected the changing social roles of Chinese women, and conveyed the yearnings and anxieties in a transitional period.


Shanghai Glamour is organized by the Museum of Chinese in America and the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou.

Both exhibitions are accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, available in the Museum’s shop.


Between late January and September, a robust line-up of events, public programs, gallery talks, tours, and educational workshops will provide behind-the-scenes insight into the world of fashion. The line-up includes a series of panel discussions with designers from Front Row and industry talks such as Female, Fashionable, NY, Fashion Book Club, and The Edge of Fashion. There will be Garment District tours and private group tours of the exhibitions.


During the run of the exhibitions, MOCA will offer three special weekend workshops for families: Color, Pattern, Texture, Textiles in May, On the Dotted Line: Design and Drawing in July, and Hand Made By __ in September. Programs for teens such as Fashion Your Future and DIY DAYS provide opportunities for youth to engage with fashion insiders and participate in an accessory-making workshop.

Front Row and Shanghai Glamour are supported by Lafayette 148 New York. Support for Front Row comes from Central Textiles (HK) Ltd. The exhibition catalogue is sponsored by Janine Luke. Additional support comes from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. In-kind support is provided by Swarovski. The New York Observer and YUE Magazine are the official media sponsors.


About Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)

MOCA’s mission is to celebrate the living history of the Chinese experience in America, to inspire our diverse communities to contribute to America’s evolving cultural narrative and civil society, and to empower and bridge our communities across generations, ethnicities and geography through our dynamic stories.