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Modern Spirit: Phoenix Art Museum spotlights vintage 1920s fashion in new exhibit

Vintage fashion lovers rejoice! The new exhibit at Phoenix Art Museum,” Modern Spirit,
Fashion of the 1920’s” opened this weekend and it’s extraordinary. Curated by Dennita Sewell,
the exhibit features fashions from the roaring 20ʹ′s and offers an in-depth look at the youthful
styles that liberated American women. The new exhibit showcases vintage garments and
accessories, 1920ʹ′s fashion magazine covers, and the best vintage hat collection you’re likely to
ever see.

Some of the highlights include dresses from designers Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Jean Patou and
Madeleine Vionnet; all top designers of the era who captured the new spirit of urban America
and freed women from their corseted past.

“As I began to curate this collection, it struck me that the 1920’s were the earliest period in
which the clothes still feel relevant today,” says Dennita Sewell, Curator of Fashion Design for
Phoenix Art Museum.

That relevance is palpable: vintage clothes have been gaining in popularity for the last several
years and styles from this era bear a heavy influence on modern day collections from some of
fashions top designers. Vintage stores are becoming more and more common, fueled by the
demand for unique vintage pieces women want for their everyday wardrobes.

One entire wall of the exhibit features 1920’s magazine covers from Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar,
offering another glimpse into the era when Art Deco came of age. These artful covers feature
many of the top illustrators and graphic designers of the day; you’ll also see large photographic
images on the wall from Edward Steichen, a prominent photographer whose work appeared
regularly in Vogue and Vanity Fair throughout the 1920’s and 30’s. Steichen is credited for
creating the first modern fashion photography shoot in 1911.

The exhibit is rich in fashion history and offers a unique perspective on the clothes and the
cultural influences that contributed to the new ” Modern Spirit ” taking hold in America.
It runs from now until February 10 in the Ellman Fashion Design Gallery. The Phoenix Art
Museum will present a series of events this fall – including lectures, gallery talks and films – that
coincide with the exhibit. For more information, visit online or call 602-257-1880.