Cooper Hewitt Presents Guest-Curated "Thom Browne Selects"

For the next installment of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s popular “Selects” series, fashion designer Thom Browne explores ideas of reflection and individuality with an installation that includes more than 50 of the museum’s historic and contemporary mirrors and frames. “Thom Browne Selects,” on view in the Nancy and Edwin Marks Collection Gallery March 4–Oct. 23, 2016, is the 13th in the ongoing series in which prominent designers, artists and architects are invited to mine and interpret the museum’s collection of more than 210,000 objects.

Known for his meticulous approach to tailoring in men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, Browne reexamines codes of conventional fashion by playing with ideas of uniforms and uniformity while focusing on exceptional materials and craftsmanship. For his “Selects” presentation, Browne celebrates the notion of the individual with an immersive, site-specific installation, featuring a wide variety of mirrors and frames from Cooper Hewitt’s collection that are displayed together with some of Browne’s personal items such as a desk, chair, typewriter and coat stand.

“A National Design Award winner for fashion design in 2012, Thom Browne’s rigorous technique and provocative work have made him one of America’s most celebrated designers and earned him legions of fans,” said Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt. “Thom’s engagement with Cooper Hewitt’s extraordinary collection of historic and contemporary mirrors and frames will give new insight into his singular design vision, as well as enhance our understanding of the individual works he selected.”

“When approaching this project and exhibition, I was drawn to the collection of mirrors and wanted to create an installation that played on the idea of reflection—giving the viewer the idea that his or her reflection is a work of art. My intent was also to play with the idea of uniformity and individuality,” Browne said.

The works on view include 18th-century French gilt bronze frames, brass and fruitwood frames by Hector Guimard and mirrors by designers such as Edgar Brandt, Carel Adolph Lion Cachet, Jim Dine and Tommi Parzinger. In a further play on the exhibition’s theme, 56 pairs of Browne’s reflective silver-plated shoes will be displayed among other gallery objects. Covering the walls and floor will be a laser-engraved, holographic reflective wallpaper by Osborne & Little, recently acquired by Cooper Hewitt.

“Thom Browne Selects” is made possible by the Marks Family Foundation Endowment Fund.

Generous support for the site-specific installation provided by Thom Browne International.

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