The art community tries on a new look at “DRESSED.”
The convergence of fashion and art is a natural one—and the tastemakers at the Regional Arts Commission have taken note. With the goal of consistently supporting the local creative community, including the artists of the fashion world, RAC enlisted the help of “Project Runway” alum Michael Drummond to curate an innovative art-meets-fashion exhibit and bring his unique vision to the project. The collaboration resulted in “DRESSED,” an exhibit on display through June 15 that has captivated the local art and fashion communities.
The hand-picked talent for “DRESSED” reads like a “who’s who” of the emerging local fashion and art scenes. There’s Project Runway All Star Laura Kathleen, whose vibrant personality and signature style have captivated a national audience; Bob Trump, head draper for Opera Theatre of St. Louis, chosen for his skill in creating ornate denim and leather biker gear; Marie McInerney, who puts her Washington University MFA in visual art to good use with provocative media like detritus and domestic items; Deborah Pontious, a local mentor whose fashion design classes at Craft Alliance inspire countless emerging artists; and the risk-taking Drummond, who shows several pieces in addition to his role as curator.
At the May 3 premier of “DRESSED,” the differences between the exhibit and a typical runway show were evident, most visibly in the presentation. Rather than walking a runway, the models perched glamorously on installations—but even more notable were the garments themselves. Unbound by the restraints of commercialism (major buyers, the market, the masses), each piece was a testament to the true creative spirit of fashion as livable, wearable art. There was no chosen theme per se, but elements of protection, love, S&M, sex and identity pervaded. “Sex and money seem to run everything,” says Drummond, who in his role as curator wasn’t at all concerned with controlling the artists themselves, but instead made sure each designer’s voice came through. “I chose artists who were talented and tenacious—craftsmen and masters of execution. There was already a certain level of trust.”
In addition to producing a thoughtful and provocative exhibit that expressed his passion for art, fashion and the creative spirit, Drummond was also determined to show that the city of St. Louis is alive with tremendously talented and educated artists. “I selected artists whom I was proud of,” Drummond explains. “Artists who are worthy of a Regional Arts Commission exhibit.”
RAC is equally thrilled by the results of the unique show, a decided departure from its regular thread of exhibits. “This exhibit is so exciting because it’s the first time that The Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission has exhibited fashion as art, and it won’t be the last time,” says Executive Director Jill McGuire. “RAC believes that the creatives in St. Louis are among the best in the country, and Michael Drummond’s show supports that.”
“DRESSED” (minus the models that appeared on opening night) runs now through June 15 at The Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission in The Loop; it is free and open to the public. For more information, visit art-stl.com or call 314.863.5811.
Photo credit: Matt Kile