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Gardner Museum offers its first fashion exhibit

Fashion designer Carla Fernández during a photo shoot.

Graciela Iturbide

Fashion designer Carla Fernández during a photo shoot.

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There’s some chic news coming from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which Wednesday announces its first-ever fashion exhibition. “Carla Fernández: The Barefoot Designer — A Passion for Radical Design and Community” is the first solo US show for the Mexican fashion force, who spent three weeks as artist-in-residence at the Gardner last summer. As anyone who has strolled through the Tapestry Room at the museum knows, Gardner herself was a passionate collector of textiles. That’s not lost on Fernández, who has worked with as many as 1,000 indigenous textile artists through Taller Flora A.C., her traveling workshop, to create her contemporary designs. “For me clothing is the first language,” Fernández said in a statement announcing the exhibition. “As soon as I see someone, I can read the code that he or she wants me to translate in the way they dress. I dress in a certain way because I know people will read me as well. That’s why fashion is so powerful.” Pieranna Cavalchini, curator of contemporary art at the Gardner, said “Fernández has been gaining international recognition for her extraordinary approach which documents and preserves the rich textile heritage of Mexico’s indigenous communities by transforming it into beautiful contemporary clothing and proving that tradition is not static.” “The Barefoot Designer” will be on view in the museum’s Hostetter Gallery from April 17 through Sept. 1. Fernández will on hand for opening celebrations as well as a gallery conversation on April 19.

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