Items: Is Fashion Modern?

Unknown designer. Maternity top and tie-waist skirt c. 1965. Synthetic. Purchased for the exhibition. Image taken during installation of _Items: Is Fashion Modern?_  Maternity top and tie-waist skirt c. 1965. Synthetic. Purchased for the exhibition. Image taken during installation of _Items: Is Fashion Modern?_

Premaman. 1965

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Unknown designer. Maternity top and tie-waist skirt c. 1965. Synthetic. Purchased for the exhibition. Image taken during installation of Items: Is Fashion Modern? Maternity top and tie-waist skirt c. 1965. Synthetic. Purchased for the exhibition. Image taken during installation of Items: Is Fashion Modern?

Michelle Millar Fisher: My name is Michelle Millar Fisher and I'm a curatorial assistant at MoMA in the architecture and design department.

Pregnancy is an interesting moment in anyone's life because your clothing has to adapt very quickly, almost on a daily if not weekly basis to the changing circumference and shape and feelings of your body.

The history of pregnancy wear in the US starts at the turn of the 20th century. Lena Bryant, who was the founder in 1904 of the company Lane Bryant, she wanted to dress the customer who wasn't necessarily a sample size. She created dresses specifically that through lacing or pleating, allowed them to be transformable. So waistlines, for example, that could expand and contract. And she created some of her very first designs for pregnant customers who wanted to look and feel good.

Wei Hung Chen's modular dress is a prototype for pregnant women, that allows women to tailor the dress to their own wants and needs.

We asked Wei to think about what that experience was emotionally, women's feelings about their body changing, but also economically cause you can't change your wardrobe and buy something new on a weekly basis as well. Nor would you want to environmentally.

Wei uses a system of hooks and eyes and other types of clips. The dress allows its wearer to modify it, both in terms of letting it in and out. And Wei's dress also allows the wearer to open it at the breasts. And so no longer would you have to, you know, lift your dress over your head in order to be able to nurse or to pump milk.

it acknowledges that the body is not a static closed entity but something that is always in a metamorphic and constantly blossoming and changing state.

Unknown designer. Maternity top and tie-waist skirt c. 1965. Synthetic. Purchased for the exhibition. Image taken during installation of Items: Is Fashion Modern? Maternity top and tie-waist skirt c. 1965. Synthetic. Purchased for the exhibition. Image taken during installation of Items: Is Fashion Modern?
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