Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip

Finalist 2018

The exhibition highlights a selection of visually groundbreaking and historically significant garments from the 1960s when American fashion underwent radical aesthetic transformations. As clothing also assumed communicative powers—reflecting the emergence of a counterculture, the women’s liberation movement and the rise of African-American consciousness, designers experimented by thinking of artistic realms. The installation boldly presents a decade of changing fashion immersed in a vibrant array of color, dynamic geometrical forms and graphic patterning.

The gallery is organized into five distinct but overlapping sections, chronologically disposed: First Lady of Fashion, Youthquake, Bohemia, The New Nonchalance and a display of three costumes from Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball. In each niche, mannequins are carefully arranged, idealizing relationships in color and design. In the anteroom, costumes from each style form an introductory sequence.

The large number of mannequins created a strong challenge. Using a diagonal or triangular configuration increased our perimeter and set a dynamic conversation between garments. Screens were integral in order to achieve the curator’s stated goal of having each section read individually while simultaneously giving the visual transparency that allows for comparisons between different variations on Mod.  Viewed from the entry, the colored side of each screen pairs with the wall graphics in a bold geometric display. The slats are digitally printed on one side and black on the other so that each niche is not symmetrical. So the viewer seeing the gallery from the rear sees the slats in black. Slats are held on the 45-degree angle and hung in tension inside 2”-square, tubular steel frames.   4’x 8’ sheets of Sintra 1/8” thick were printed and then cut into 3” slats, digitally numbered, hung individually on simple hooks and zip tied at the bottom.

Each niche has a three-teired triangular platform constructed in MDF with the lowest level at 2” above the floor. In order to avoid distracting bases under each mannequin, MDF is used so they are “staked.” A large bed case for jewelry, accessories and ephemera (magazines, advertisements, etc.) is in each theme. Labels are aggregated and set on elegant rails that work with the overall design strategy.

Design Firms: 

Studio Joseph


Museum of the City of New York

Project Area: 

2,800 sq ft

Open Date: 

April 2018

Photo Credits: 

Thomas Loof (photography)

Design Team: 

Wendy Evans Joseph (principal in charge), Monica Coghlan (project designer), Jose Luis Vidalon (project manager), Emma Chen (designer), Derek Lee (designer), Yves Ludwig (graphic design, book design), Julie Fry (graphic design)


Curatation, Anita Jorgensen Lighting Design


Southside Design & Building (fabrication), Full Point Graphics (wall graphics)

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