The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is hosting its first-ever fashion exhibition, pieces created by designer Carla Fernández in collaboration with Mexican artisans, through Sept. 1.
The exhibit, titled, “The Barefoot Designer: A Passion for Radical Design,” includes accessories and videos of the Mexican artisans who create each piece by hand from scratch—from spinning, weaving, brushing and dyeing wool to embroidery and hand-carving.
“We wanted to create something that will take [the visitor] to the fashion world, to see the people who make it, see the workshops, and the many other layers involved,” Fernández said during an April 16 press preview of the exhibit. “We wanted to show clothing in movement.”
Fernández bases her collaborative designs on traditional Mexican methods, creating clothing that is based almost exclusively on ornate, embellished fabrics cut into simple shapes like squares and rectangles. This approach is radically different from most tailored, European-based clothing, which is based on simpler fabrics elaborately tailored around the body.
But she said the challenge is in taking traditional methods and applying them in a way that would interest modern city-dwellers.
Fernández also collaborates with the traditional artisans in the construction of each garment, incorporating pleats, folds, embroidery and other traditional methods.
“We think that, by sharing, we can increase creativity,” she said at the event.
The exhibit includes finished garments, textiles, design drawings, photographs, video and other source materials of the design process.
The Gardner Museum is located at 280 The Fenway. Its website is gardnermuseum.org.