This month, Phoenix Art Museum brings a collection of avant-garde pieces to its Fashion Design collection from the esteemed Pittsburgh designer shop Emphatics.

Emphatic-ally Fashionable

Written by Jessie Martin Category: Arts Issue: November 2016
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This month, Phoenix Art Museum brings a collection of avant-garde pieces to its Fashion Design collection from the esteemed Pittsburgh designer shop Emphatics. The hair-salon-turned-boutique was the passion project of James and Karin Legato, who amassed such an impressive inventory of high-fashion art pieces between 1963 and 2013 that PAM jumped at the acquisition, which dovetails with the Fashion Design collection’s 50th anniversary. The collection features such noted designers as Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Thierry Mugler, John Galliano, Romeo Gigli, Azzedine Alaïa and Jean Paul Gaultier. We deconstructed a Gaultier ensemble from the exhibition with PAM fashion design curator Dennita Sewell and fashion program and communications manager Casey Christiansen. Visit phxart.org/collection/fashion to learn more.

– Jessie Martin

Kimono
Details: Jean Paul Gaultier S/S 2007, embroidered silk
“This kimono is a unique interpretation of the classic bomber jacket. Gaultier transformed it into an exaggerated version of itself – turning something ordinary into something heightened and avant-garde, very telling of this time,” Christiansen says.

Vest
Details: Jean Paul Gaultier 1990, wool
“The old, sort-of-couture stance, the more formal stance, was really loosening up,” Sewell says of the more playful vest/dress design.

Leggings
Details: Jean Paul Gaultier “Pink Tattoo” leggings 2012, fishnet nylon
“Fashion really blossomed internationally, as well as in terms of its creativity,” Sewell says of pieces like these leggings, which evoke tattooed skin.