80 Washington Square East, NYU

Costume Studies

Gray Area: Authenticity, Value, and Subversion in Fashion

January 11 – February 2, 2019

Project Space

Every year 80WSE collaborates with graduate students in NYU’s Costume Studies department who, under the direction of Mellissa Huber, Assistant Curator at The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, create an exhibition that examines the dress and textiles and their relationship to the current cultural context. 

This exhibition examines more than a century of complex shifts in the production, consumption, and perceived worth of objects deemed valuable for reasons beyond the cost of their materials.
From the smuggling of coveted nineteenth-century French goods to the current feedback loop of brand-endorsed label appropriation exemplified by designers such as Marc Jacobs, Gray Area illuminates the process by which value in the fashion system is assigned, maintained—and subverted. In so doing, this exhibition shines a light on the levels of ambiguity and gray areas in which the objects on display reside.
Gray Area is co-curated by Aanchal Bakshi, Brian Centrone, Kate Fisher, Kerstin Heitzke, Madeleine Luckel, Marisa Lujan, Carole Schinck, and Kate Sekules. The exhibition is overseen by Mellissa Huber, assistant curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

Photographs by Aanchal Bakshi

A fake Louis Vuitton monogrammed handbag. The handbag is brown with the words "grey area" written multiple times in grey ink across it.
The side view of a light brown cowboy hat. There is a small braided detailing in the center of the hat.
Two Yves Saint Laurent small leather handbags are placed next to each other. The one on the left is dark brown and the one on the right is vibrant red. They both have metal chains, and the "YSL" logo in the center.
Side view of green sneakers with yellow laces. A tag hanging off the laces says "stay focused."
One green sneaker is placed on top of a green box that resembles a Menthol Cigarette case. The other green sneaker is placed to the right side of the box.
Ariele Elia, fashion historian 
February 2, 2019 12:00pm — 2:00pm 
Einstein Auditorium, 34 Stuyvesant Street