BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Crystal Bridges Museum of Art will look to highlight two centuries’ worth of American fashion this fall in the museum’s first fashion exhibit.

“Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour” will reportedly feature more than 90 designers and iconic American labels and explore the nation’s diverse fashion heritage and spirit of invention while also spotlighting the untold stories of underrecognized and underrepresented designers, important contemporary movements shaping the industry, and American fashion’s resonance in global trends and visual culture.

Through seven themed sections showcasing the expanse of American fashion as the amalgamation of all things culture, from denim jeans to bathing suits, sneakers to cowboy boots, and more, the exhibition emphasizes the work of Black and Native American designers. It will also feature geographical representation of fashion designers and histories from across the country, Crystal Bridges said.

I always think of Crystal Bridges as a platform for inclusive storytelling, and we are thrilled to present our debut fashion exhibition boldly focused on the diverse origins and untold narratives of American fashion. Fashion is very much the art of our everyday lives, a medium of self-expression and culture, a wellspring of creativity and vision. We are so excited to bring these voices and stories to the heartland of America.

Olivia Walton, museum board chairperson

According to a press release, the exhibition will feature pieces on loan from Vogue magazine’s global editor at large, Hamish Bowles, plus other private collections and household names such as Ralph Lauren, Nike, Vera Wang, and Levi-Strauss alongside statement-making styles by designers Virgil Abloh, Carolina Herrera, Patricia Michaels, Virgil Ortiz, Anna Sui, and Isabel Toledo.

The first-ever interactive digital garment to be displayed in a museum exhibition will also debut through a collaboration with bionic pop artist and futurist Viktoria Modesta.

“Fashioning America” will also give attendees a look at little-known fashion designers such as Ann Lowe, who designed Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress, and Bill Whitten, who fashioned Michael Jackson’s iconic glove. The exhibition will also tell stories of women designers and female-led businesses that found great success within the male-dominated fashion industry, including streetwear designer Olivia Anthony, corset inventor Emmeline Philbrook, entrepreneur Hattie Carnegie, and famed undergarment designer and industrialist Olga Erteszek.

“American fashion reflects the complexity of America writ large, weaving together stories of innovation, immigration, independence, self-invention, and creativity. The sweeping story of American fashion encompasses designers from all walks of life — from the rural to the urban, from the regional to the global — who embody history past and present and represent issues related to inclusion and exclusion,” says the exhibition’s curator, Michelle Tolini Finamore. “I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to champion work that has too often been overlooked by convention and hope that the exhibition captures the role fashion plays in reflecting the American spirit to the rest of the world.”

Lively programming will unfold over the course of the exhibition and include an opening talk on September 9 with Finamore and select designers, panel discussions throughout the run of the exhibition, and fashion and design workshops for all ages.

The museum also says it will host a full weekend of public engagements Nov. 12-13 to deepen the exploration of the exhibition and its themes through talks, drop-in workshops, fashion pop-ups with emerging designers, an evening fashion party, and more.

In concert with the exhibition, the museum is partnering with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA) to explore issues impacting the future of the American fashion industry and celebrate new design talent in the Heartland.

A fashion symposium is also planned in partnership with the CFDA for October 26, which will bring together leading industry voices to celebrate American fashion design and share stories, experiences and insights on sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusivity, the release says.

“Fashioning America” will be on view from September 10, 2022, to January 30, 2023.