Plaster figures designed by Bernard Rudofsky and modeled by Constantin Nivola, showing a woman’s body as it would have appeared had it fitted into the clothes of four fashion periods. In the exhibition *Are Clothes Modern?* The Museum of Modern Art, November 28, 1944–March 4, 1945. New York. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, Photographic Archive. Photo: Soichi Sunami

The salon, on Sunday, May 15, will reprise the question in Bernard Rudofsky’s 1944 MoMA exhibition Are Clothes Modern? Recalibrating this question for our present moment, we will consider the ways in which fashion is part of our culture, as well as how items are designed, manufactured, and distributed. We will ponder the multivalent relationships between clothing and functionality, cultural etiquettes, aesthetics, politics, labor, economics, and technology.

Four speakers will discuss how the designs we wear shape us and the worlds we inhabit, dissecting contemporary experiences of and attitudes toward the items in global circulation today:

Penny Martin, Editor-in-Chief, The Gentlewoman
Omoyemi Akerele, Founder, Lagos Fashion and Design Week
Alphonso D. McClendon, Associate Professor of Design, Drexel University
Kim Hastreiter, Co-founder and Co-Editor-in-Chief, PAPER magazine

Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design and Director of R&D, MoMA, moderator

Whether we call them fashion, apparel, clothes, accessories, garments, or numbers, the items we wear are central to our lives, our identities, and the ways in which we relate to society and the world. Because they are so essential and meaningful, they have been the subject of countless studies and exhibitions, from equally numerous points of view—art historical, sociological, aesthetic, technological, and more. The design angle, by nature a synthesis of all these approaches, is the one MoMA has chosen for this event, and for the upcoming exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern?