Native Fashion Now is a fabulous FREE exhibit of contemporary clothing, accessories and jewelry by Native American designers, opening Friday at NMAI, the National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan.
Every item on display, from evening gowns to beaded boots, is a modern take on traditional cultural designs, by artisans and designers from Navajo, Crowe, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Haida, and other tribes.
NYC on the Cheap Editor Evelyn Kanter got a preview yesterday, and the chance to chat with one of the designers.
Bethany Yellowtail (Crow and Cheyenne) told me she was inspired by family photos of her grandparents in traditional clothing. Her see-through black slip dress is embroidered with flowers and decorated with elk teeth across the shoulders and sleeves.
Elk teeth, she told me, are a traditional symbol of the Crow culture, used on clothing to display wealth and the hunting ability of the family’s men.
Another of the 70-ish items on display is an intricately beaded pair of turquoise high-heeled Christian Louboutin boots. Artisan Jaime Okuma (Luiseno and Shoshone-Bannock) designed the Native-inspired beadwork.
The dress at the exhibit entrance, by Orlando Dugi (Navajo) is a patterned red and black chiffon with a feather cape and headress. Very dramatic, very wearable, as are all the items at this new exhibit.
Native Fashion Now can be viewed daily, Feb. 17th to Sept. 4th.
The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is at One Bowling Green. It’s part of the Smithsonian, and admission is always FREE.