Bellevue Arts Museum’s latest exhibit celebrates the bold, expressive fashion of the 1960s and 70s. Counter-Couture: Fashioning Identity in the American Counterculture was guest-curated by Michael Cepress, a Seattle-based designer and lifelong connoisseur of that era’s fashion. Cepress has been compiling the collection for over 10 years, literally digging through attics, basements and museum collections to assemble more than 100 hand-made pieces of clothing and jewelry.
Highlights included a hand-dyed velvet dress created for Cass Elliot of The Mamas and the Papas, psychedelic croched bikinis by Swedish artist Birgitta Bjerke, and an embroidered skirt and top by Mary Ann Schildknecht — a craft the artist learned from nuns in an Italian prison while serving time on a hashish smuggling charge.
The exhibit opened Sept. 3 with a preview party attended by many of the artists and designers represented in the exhibit. Guests were decked out in outfits from the period, some of which bordered on outrageous — a refreshing reminder that crafting a one-of-a-kind identity through fashion is as relevant today as it was in the hippie era.
The exhibit runs through January 10, 2016.