My kudos to the Kennedy Center, which, in addition to the Corcoran, is one of the few local arts centers to devote space to the world of fashion.
Last spring, the Ken Cen hosted a terrific show on the influence of the 1940s (including World War II) on fashion, displaying innovations from designers such as Christian Dior, Claire McCardell and Norman Traina. Now the Center offers The New China Chic.
The exhibit, part of the Festival of China, opened Tuesday in the Terrace Gallery, bringing together the work of 13 ethnic Chinese fashion designers from around the world and exploring how their rich and varied culture informs their designs. Among the stand-outs is Zang Toi's "Chinoiserie Gown," which combines a slinky, form-fitting Western silhouette with colors and embroidery inspired by Chinese folk art. Also displayed are examples of Vivienne Tam's wearable clothing, into which she weaves imagery borrowed from calligraphy, opera and Buddha. Fashion insiders will recognize the designs of Peter Som and Derek Lam, two very up-and-coming designers on the global runway, as well as the uber-successful Vera Wang. The exhibit runs through Oct. 16; it would be a fashion faux pas to miss it.
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