Entering the Todd Oldham exhibit is like waking up in Munchkin Land . . . or emerging from the shadows into the sunny green of Fenway Park . . . if Fenway Park was covered in sequins. This is instant joy. The curators have created a formal garden setting for “All of Everything: Todd Oldham Fashion” and it works perfectly. An elaborately conceived dress called the ‘RISD Ensemble’ (created last year by Oldham and students from the textiles department) holds the center — a fabulous fountain surrounded by bloom-filled raised beds.
I defy the art museum purists who pooh-pooh these fashion exhibits as pandering stunts to walk through this exhibit and not view these garments as works of art. The fabrics, the ribbons, the woven ribbons, the construction, the beading, and every square inch of fabric seems to be covered in custom-made sequins, buttons, buckles, and crystals.
So just go. And if you go, please note: The Benefit Street entrance is closed for construction for a few weeks. Use the 20 North Main Street entrance.
BTW, that one-year free membership offer is still on the table. Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, “Residents of Rhode Island only: free for one adult who identifies as an artist or designer.” Go here to become a member. It’s really easy.
One last thing: At the entry to the exhibit is an enormous display of Todd Oldham buttons. He could never find what he wanted so he got into fabricating his own. When you go to the show you will be given, as a memento, a small envelope containing a genuine Todd Oldham button. Mine is stamped “Todd Oldham 1995” on the back.
Really . . . nobody tell me this isn’t art.
“RISD Ensemble” below.