art, black fashion designer, Fashion, fashion designer, museums

The Coop(er Hewitt)

Coming out of lockdowns and variant scares, New York is chock full of eye grabbing museum visits, trying to get those visitors piling in. I found out that there was a Willia Smith exhibit, so I headed uptown looking for fashion.

It was good, I liked it.

It’s a small show, but it perfectly captures the 80s. The layered, bulky but streamlined outfits, the crumbling concrete and chainlink fence decor. You can feel the overdone smokey eyes and red lips in the atmosphere. It’s like a little New York apartment where you sleep all day and then jump up at sunset to get dressed and go out to sulk at a club, then slink into the night with a stranger. Not a lot of space, but they did a lot with it. It’s that kind of show. It has layers.

I loved how artistic the designer is. There was a whole installation of concrete forms and a notepad with sketches you could take home. There was a little corner showing how Christo had Williwear design the uniforms for the staff at his exhibits. I was seeing this just as everyone was gasping over Christo wrapping the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, so it was a bittersweet feeling. He also did costumes for dance performances and plays. Willie Smith was a prolific and thoughtful designer who skillfully took the mundane and made it glorious.