How modern is fashion, generally speaking? That’s the question the Museum of Modern Art’s asking at its first fashion exhibition in more than 70 years, on show now in New York. Titled Items: Is Fashion Modern?, this historic exploration about garments from the 20th and 21st centuries gives viewers a well-rounded lesson about why (and how) we wear what we wear.
Of course, the exhibition wouldn’t be complete without a certain piece of innovative clothing: Levi’s® 501® Jeans. In preparation for the exhibit, MoMA’s senior curator Paola Antonelli visited our San Francisco headquarters to check out our archives and pick just the right pair with Levi’s® historian Tracey Panek.
Settling on the best 501® to display took some consideration,” Panek tells us. “Rather than including the earliest 501® waist overalls from our Archives, we settled on a post-World War II pair from 1947. This pant captures the modern blue jean—belt loops, five pockets and a straight fit. It also has distinctive wear patterns, from the cuffed hem marks to patching on the back seat. They’re a can’t-miss feature of the exhibit.
But there’s more to the exhibit than just the denim. In addition to our 1947 501® Jeans, a pair of Dockers® khakis, identified as chinos, as well as 109 other items—from the little black dress to Converse® shoes—are on display to tell their stories.
If you’re in New York, stop by MoMA and look for our 501® Jeans and Dockers® khakis in the Items: Is Fashion Modern? exhibit, which runs through January 28, 2018.