Donna Karan Professor of Fashion Design, Parsons The New School for Design
Curator of Costumes, Chicago History Museum
Chicago History Museum
Curator of Fashion Design, Phoenix Art Museum
Sharon S. Takeda
Senior Curator and Department Head, Costume and Textiles, Los Angeles County Musum of Art
Cultural Historian and Independent Curator
"Outside Looking In: The Independent Curator"
About the Speakers
Shelley Fox is the first Donna Karan Professor of Fashion Design at Parsons The New School for Design in New York. In this endowed position, made possible through a generous gift from Parsons alumna Donna Karan, Shelley will lead the development of a new master of Fine Arts Program in Fashion Design and Society, which is the first of its kind in the United States. Since graduating from the MA Fashion at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, Shelley Fox has built up a following for her experimental and innovative womenswear which has been stocked in stores worldwide including Europe, Hong Kong, USA and Japan. Internationally recognised as a directional and conceptual designer, she is one of a rare breed of modern designers renowned for her innovative use of materials, manipulation of fabric and a main priority for her is the development of unorthodox pattern cutting. The result re-defines how clothes can be worn, constantly question conventions, for example working circles of fabric to create one piece and dual waisted skirts. Her training in both fashion and textiles produces a highly individual and distinctive style. Her work explores unusual and arresting themes, on both technical and conceptual levels. Scorched felted wool and burnt cotton bandaging, the use of laser beams and sound waves that strike the cloth with ‘invisible heat’, negative imagery printed onto fabric, the use of Braille markings on boiled wool and Morse Code communication are all examples of past work. It is very much underscored by an interest in humanity and the interaction between people. The use of family snaps of collaborators Scanner and D-Fuse, together with portraits of her family with those closet to her, she took this notion of future lives as the starting place for collection 14. Within this collection we see the interweaving of dinner napkins and pillowcases sourced from international airlines and restaurants, mixed with luxury fabrics to create a totally unprecedented result. A key part of Shelley Fox’s work involves collaborations with creatives from other disciplines including Tomato, the London based multi-design collective, SHOWstudio the fashion multimedia workshop led by Nick Knight, acclaimed sound artist, Scanner, Michael Clark Dance Company and recently, Wayne McGregor of Random Dance. Fox is developing a following of international admirers and her work has been included in various prestigious exhibitions including shows at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Design Museum, Barbican Art Gallery, Modemuseum, Crafts Council, Antwerp Landed 2001, FIT in New York, British Council exhibitions that have travelled through Frankfurt, Bordeaux, Belgium, Poland, Lithuania, Prague, Copenhagen, Utrecht, Moscow, Berlin, Stockholm and Tokyo. Recent projects have included ‘Negative’, a collection of clothing was shown as part of the Friday Late at the Victoria and Albert Museum in April 2005, accumulating in 4 shows in one evening, which was joint sponsored by the Arts Council and the V&A. This was followed by a collaboration with Wayne McGregor of Random Dance for the World Premiere of ‘Amu’ at Sadlers’ Wells. Fox was awarded both the Jerwood Fashion Prize and The Peugeot Design Award for Textiles in 1999, the Crafts Council Development Award and the Stanley Picker Fellowship for Design and is now a Senior Research Fellow at Central St Martins College of Art and Design. In November 2006 www.shelleyfox.com was launched and she was nominated for the PRINCE PHILIP DESIGN PRIZE by the Arts Council, England in 2007.
Timothy Long is Curator of Costumes at the Chicago History Museum.
Dennita Sewell has been Curator of Fashion Design at Phoenix Art Museum for ten years. She received her MFA in Design from the Yale School of Drama and BA in Textile and Apparel Management from the University of Missouri. For six years during the mid-late 1990s, Sewell was Collections Manager at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. At Phoenix Art Museum she has organized exhibitions on topics ranging from motorcycle jackets to contemporary designers drawn from the Museum's comprehensive collection, international fashion houses, and private collections.
Sharon S. Takeda is Senior Curator and Department Head, Costume and Textiles, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Kohle Yohannan is a Curator and Cultural Historian based in New York. He holds a BA in Art History from Columbia University, a Master's Degree from The Parsons/Cooper Hewitt Program in The History of Decorative Art and Museum Studies, and has completed his Doctoral coursework for a Ph. D. in Cultural History. In May of 2009, Mr. Yohannan co-curated “The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Harold Koda (Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute) and co-authored the accompanying publication that was published by Yale University Press. Mr. Yohannan is the author of Valentina: American Couture & The Cult of Celebrity, which was published in 2009 by Rizzoli to coincide with an exhibition at The Museum of The City of New York. His critically acclaimed photo-biography of the legendary Vogue photographer (John Rawlings: Thirty Years in Vogue) was published in 2002 by Arena Editions along with an accompanying exhibition at The Fashion Institute of Technology. He is the author of Claire McCardell: Redefining Modernism, and also contributed to In Vogue: The Illustrated History of the World’s Most Famous Fashion Magazine (Rizzoli, 2006).