Dress Up

The exhibition ‘Dress Up’ explores adornment and the creation of a look through more than 100 works of fashion and jewelry, a majority of which are new MFA acquisitions and have never been on view before. The exhibition removes the delineation between fashion and jewelry, focusing on how they play an inseparable and integral role in the act of dressing up— from childhood to adulthood, from fantasy to reality. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, USA. On show from April 13 through September 2 2024.

The exhibition was organized by Emily Stoehrer, Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry, and Theo Tyson, curator of Fashion Arts. It is on view in the Henry and Lois Foster Gallery, located in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art. ‘Dress Up’ draws from the breadth of the MFA’s own holdings of 20th- and 21st-century fashion and jewelry, including standout pieces by fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen, Bob Mackie, John Galliano and Oscar de la Renta; jewelry from designers like Hattie Carnegie, Elsa Peretti and House of Lanvin; and accessories by designers like Thom Solo. The fashion on view is also complemented by photographs from the MFA’s collection, including works by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Martin Parr as well as portraits of Madonna by Herb Ritts and Grace Kelly by Yousuf Karsh.

The exhibition debuts pieces from an important collection of vintage costume jewelry that was acquired by the Museum in 2018 and 2019 from Toronto based collector Carole Tanenbaum. These objects, 60 of which are on view, incorporate inexpensive materials such as base metals and became popular complements to ready-to-wear fashion in the 20th century. Both industries benefited from advancements in mass production techniques, which allowed for the creation of more affordable and accessible clothing and accessories for a wider array of consumers.

Dress Up
On show: April 13 through September 2 2024.
Location: Henry and Lois Foster Gallery (Gallery 158)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), 465 Huntington Avenue Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
Visit info

Photo: The Glass Slipper by Thom Solo, 2021.
William Francis Warden Fund © Thom Solo, Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA.