Last year, Alaka Wali at the Field Museum asked me to co-curate an exhibit.
Alaka’s vision was to allow me as an artist and a fashion designer to consider the Field’s collection. I was given the privilege of roaming through the museum's extensive archives, like a kid in a candy store. Needless to say, I was attracted to anything that went on the body.
At first I pulled artifacts that just caught my eye, but I started to see interesting relationships between cultures that seemingly had nothing to do with each other. Themes emerged that were represented across the world in how and why we choose what we wear, and the themes of this exhibition became about armor, ritual, seduction, and aesthetic. These are elements that I've always found intriguing and that have influenced my own designs.
The exhibit drew connections among artifacts from around the world and throughout time that, for the first time in the museum’s history, were presented side by side. We selected pieces from my own past collections that also demonstrated these themes as a way to contrast the ancient with the modern.
The Field commissioned the look at the top of this post specifically for this exhibit, which I called the Alaka. It is now a part of the Field Museum’s permanent collection.