The Mint Museum announces the “Year of Fashion”

Museum to host three extraordinary exhibitions, launch new fashion initiative in the coming fiscal year

The Mint Museum, long renowned for holding one of the largest and most significant Fashion Collections in the Southeastern United States, will celebrate the art form with its upcoming “Year of Fashion,” the museum announced today to attendees of its annual gala.

Weston M. Andress, chairman of the Mint’s Board of Trustees, issued a proclamation declaring the “Year of Fashion” to 400 attendees at the sold-out Coveted Couture gala, an annual fundraising event permanently devoted to celebrating the Mint’s collection, conservation, study, and exhibition of fashions both historic and contemporary. The “Year of Fashion” will span the museum’s next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017 and continuing through June 30, 2018.

“Today we celebrate the Mint for delivering relevant and compelling exhibitions and programming that engages all members of our diverse global community, and we are thrilled that we will be able to introduce new concepts of art to our community through this year-long focus on fashion,” Andress said.

“Fashion design is like kinetic sculpture, and leading couturiers are like master architects who build with fabric and applied elements using the body as armature,” said Annie Carlano, Senior Curator of Craft, Design, & Fashion at the Mint. “Our relationship with fashion is both universal and personal; fashion reflects the times we live in and who we are.”

The “Year of Fashion” will center around three exhibitions to be on view throughout the year, and is also accompanied by a major financial gift provided by loyal Mint supporters Ann and Michael Tarwater. In honor of his wife Ann, Michael Tarwater has given a lead gift to launch a Fashion Initiative at Mint Museum Randolph to enhance the storage, study, exhibition, and development of innovative immersive programs around fashion in years to come. “The Tarwaters believe the Mint should be the fashion leader in our region – and beyond.  They see fashion design as one of the most engaging and meaningful art forms, with rich aesthetic and cultural associations, and a gateway to understanding style through the ages. They are dedicated to making Charlotte a great city for all, and that includes robust support for the arts. With this lead gift for a dynamic fashion presence at the Mint, Ann and Michael are giving back to the city that has been their home for more than 30 years, and we cannot thank them enough,” said Carlano. Further details of the Fashion Initiative will be made public during the coming months.

The three exhibitions to be hosted at the Mint are:

  • William Ivey Long: Costume Designs 2007-2016 . On view at Mint Museum Uptown from September 23, 2017 through June 3, 2018. North Carolina native William Ivey Long is one of the most renowned theatrical costume designers working today. Since the beginning of his career in the 1970s, he has designed over 70 Broadway shows, has won six Tony awards and received 15 nominations, and has earned many other honors and accolades. The exhibition will explore William Ivey Long’s most recent work, from 2007 to today. It will focus on his process, featuring sketches, swatches, mood boards, and other preparatory materials in addition to the costumes themselves. The exhibition, co-curated by Carlano, and Rebecca Elliot, Assistant Curator for Craft, Design, & Fashion, will provide visitors with exposure to this form of art and allow for comparison of the different goals of theatrical costume and fashion.
  • Charlotte Collects: Contemporary Couture and Fabulous Fashion. On view at Mint Museum Randolph from October 14, 2017 through early 2018. This is the first of a series of Craft, Design, & Fashion exhibitions featuring significant collections and collectors in Charlotte. Curated by Carlano, Charlotte Collects is an exhibition that takes an intimate look at important fashion designs in the collections of several fashion leaders in our community. From exquisite bespoke creations by couturier Giambattista Valli, to the innovative designs by Issey Miyake and elegant minimalism of Jason Wu, the exhibition strives to present a wide range of 21st century fashion through the personal stories of each of these collectors, with the goal of both celebrating these women, and building excitement for the future of fashion at Mint Museum Randolph.  Informative and dynamic, the installation will include runway videos.
  • An exhibition of fashion designs by Oscar de la Renta, scheduled to be on view in spring 2018 at Mint Museum Randolph. Organized in close collaboration with the House of Oscar de la Renta and the designer’s family, the exhibition is curated by André Leon Talley, former American editor-at-large for Vogue and a lifelong friend of de la Renta. It is scheduled to debut at the Mint next spring following its recently announced run at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston this fall. It is anticipated to contain fashions made during the span of his career in Spain, Paris, and New York. The Mint hosted the late designer for a fashion show fundraiser organized by the Mint Museum Auxiliary in 2011.

Wells Fargo Private Bank has signed on as presenting sponsor of both the William Ivey Long and Oscar de la Renta exhibitions, as well as serving as lead sponsor of this year’s Coveted Couture gala. “Wells Fargo Private Bank is pleased to help the Mint present these signature exhibitions to the community,” said Jay Everette, Community Affairs Manager, Wells Fargo Foundation, and co-chair of this year’s Coveted Couture gala. “The intersection of art, fashion, costume, and design offers incredibly rich content and concepts to explore through both exhibition presentation and community programming.”

“The Mint thanks Wells Fargo, the Tarwater family, the Auxiliary, and all of the hundreds of other individual, corporate, and foundation sponsors who make possible our ability to continue to present these groundbreaking exhibitions to our community,” said Carlano.

The Mint also announced Saturday that the next Coveted Couture gala will be timed to coincide with the opening of the Oscar de la Renta exhibition, and will be co-chaired by Charlotte fashion industry leaders Laura Vinroot Poole and Perry Poole. More information on the plans will be available later in 2017 at .

Above image: Lisa Dargan in couture by Giambattista Valli, 2014. Photograph by Gately Williams. From the upcoming exhibition Charlotte Collects: Contemporary Couture and Fabulous Fashion.