Exhibits: Trending Now (and Then)

October 14, 2015

John Levesque


Who says style isnt substance?

The counterculture fashions of the 1960s and 70s still resonate today. True, looks that were considered outrageous nearly 50 years ago metal studs, tie-dyed shirts, ripped jeans are normal now. All the more reason to embrace the notion that the fashion contributions of a group decidedly outside the mainstream can influence and ultimately become de rigueur.

The Bellevue Arts Museum celebrates this evolutionary accomplishment with the exhibit Counter-Couture: Fashioning Identity in the American Counterculture. The show features more than 100 pieces of handmade clothing, jewelry and accessories created on the fringes of public acceptance at a time of social upheaval.

Seattle clothing designer Michael Cepress curated the exhibit with an eye toward four aspects of the style and the period: funk and flash, couture, performance and transcendence.

Stefano Catalani, BAMs director of art, craft and design, says Counter-Couture encompasses the ethos of a generation that achieved change by designing and crafting their own identity.

A spectacular range of color is at the heart of the collection Cepress has amassed. Expect to encounter vivid beaded jackets, richly embroidered garments and beautifully tooled accessories that were once the antithesis of corporate fashion and then werent.

Funny how that happens.

Counter-Couture: Fashioning Identity in the American Counterculture. Through 1/10/16, Bellevue Arts Museum, 510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue; 425.519.0770; bellevuearts.org