It’s Boston Fashion Week and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is extending the celebration throughout October with two relevant exhibits, a party on the first of the month, an appearance by Don Ed Hardy on October 6, and a robust list of fashion-related events.

Avedon and Scaasi Exhibits

“Avedon Fashion: 1944-2000” has been, probably, the MFA’s most-publicized exhibit this past year. The theme might seem like a light one, but this is a collection with an enormous sense of place and time that makes it highly engaging. Many of Avedon’s photos are technically astounding as well, and that counts for a lot.

Arranged chronically, it’s a big exhibit, and the first comprehensive survey of Avedon’s fashion photography since 1978. “Avedon Fashion: 1944-2000” got lots of attention when it opened back in August, but you have until Jan 17, 2011 to see it.

Across the hall, and even scattered up and down the MFA’s marble stairways, is the exhibit “Scaasi: American Couturier.” Like the Avedon exhibit, you don’t have to be into dresses and girly stuff to appreciate it. There’s some truly iconic 20th century clothing here and its presentation continues the MFA’s good track record when it comes to showcasing textile art.

The opulent clothes are, as the previously discussed Avedon photos, obviously the work of a technical master. With outfits worn by Arlene Francis, Natalie Wood, Barbra Streisand and other stars of yesteryear (sorry still-alive Streisand), the Scaasi exhibit has a fun Planet Hollywood element too. Newly opened as a tie-in with Boston Fashion Week, “Scaasi: American Couturier” runs until January 19.

Special Events

A willingness to punctuate the traditional exhibit calender with light-hearted events has breathed new life into American museums this past decade, and the MFA hasn’t fallen behind.

By now well-experienced at throwing successful and always-classy parties, the MFA is calling October 1 “Fashion First Friday” and, starting at 5:30 p.m., they’ll be models from Saks Fifth Avenue, mini-makeovers, and more in-theme fun to accompany cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and music.

Don Ed Hardy, whose eponymous clothing line is inspired by tattoo art and graffiti, will be among those participating in “Under the Skin: Tattoos in Japanese Prints” on October 6 at 7 p.m. Among other things, the panel will talk about differences between traditional Japanese tattoos and contemporary American versions. With scholarly events like this, and the appearance of Mexican tattoo artist Dr. Lakra at Institute of Contemporary Art last April, it’s easy to forget that it only a few years ago it was a crime to get a tattoo in Massachusetts.

Jay Calderin, founder and executive director of Boston Fashion Week, will be appearing at the MFA on October 26 and 28 to talk about fashion trends. The museum is even offering a five-week course, “The Look: Fashion, Photography, and Film,” which explores fashion from the 1950s to today.

Gallery talks, film showings and the list of fashion-related activities the MFA has planned for October goes on and is worth checking out. Likewise, the list of times when one can get into the MFA for free is long and seems to be ever-expanding, so check that out as well (

About The Author

Contributing editor John Stephen Dwyer is in love with his native Boston but has also done work in Amsterdam, London, New York, Paris and other cool cities. In recent months he's photographed notables including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Rosalynn Carter.

2 Responses

  1. Andres

    Why “sorry still-alive Barbara Streisand”?…If you are going to write something like this, just do it right…It is not Barbara, it is Barbra!


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