Contemporary Muslim Fashions

Faiza Bouguessa, Contemporary Muslim Fashions, Art, Fashion show
Faiza Bouguessa (b. France, 1983) for Faiza Bouguessa (United Arab Emirates, est. 2014), Geometric Abaya Dress with Belt, 2014, polyester crepe, silk lining. Courtesy of the artist. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO – Contemporary Muslim Fashions is the first major museum exhibition to explore the complex and diverse nature of Muslim dress codes worldwide. Organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, this pioneering exhibition will examine how Muslim women—those who cover and those who do not—have become arbiters of style within and beyond their communities and, in so doing, have drawn attention to the variations and nuances of their daily lives.

“There are those who believe that there is no fashion at all among Muslim women, but the opposite is true, with modern, vibrant, and extraordinary fashion scenes, particularly in many Muslim-majority countries,” says Max Hollein, former Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “Contemporary Muslim Fashions is an overdue, much-needed exploration of a multifaceted topic as yet largely unexplored by museums. This exhibition stands out in our long history of outstanding fashion exhibitions and will shed light onto larger political, social, and cultural understandings and misunderstandings.”

Spotlighting places, garments, and styles from around the world, the exhibition focuses on clothing that responds to individual and collective interpretations of modesty. It considers how Muslim women define themselves and are defined by their dress, providing a snapshot of the current moment in Muslim modest fashion. As Islam is a multicultural faith, the dress of its practitioners is shaped not only by religious traditions but also by local customs and global trends. Contemporary Muslim Fashions takes a look at parts of the globe where designers are creating and consumers are wearing highly fashionable garments, with a specific focus on the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and diasporic communities throughout Europe and the United States.

Céline  Semaan,  Contemporary Muslim Fashions, Fashion,
Céline Semaan – Slowfactory “Banned”, 2017 Model: Hoda Katebi Photographer: Driely Carter Make Up Artist: Grace Ahn Stylist: Solange Franklin Creative Director: Céline Semaan Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

“Fashion is at its best when it both adapts to the needs of society and reflects its social and political undercurrents,” says Jill D’Alessandro, Curator in Charge of Costume and Textile Arts. “It is in this transformative moment where we now find modest fashion.”

In addition to approximately 80 ensembles drawn from established and emerging designers in high-end fashion, streetwear, sportswear, and couture, the exhibition includes about 40 photographs that will contextualize the garments on view. Using social media as primary source material, Contemporary Muslim Fashions credits much of the recent, popular awareness of this sector to bloggers and influencers who took to social media when they could not find accurate representations of themselves in traditional media.

Contemporary Muslim Fashions is organized by Jill D’Alessandro, Curator in Charge of Costume and Textile Arts, and Laura L. Camerlengo, Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Reina Lewis, Professor of Cultural Studies at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, serves as consulting curator.

HASLINDA RAHIM, Contemporary Muslim Fashions
HASLINDA RAHIM (b. 1971, Malaysia) for BLANCHEUR (est. 2014, Malaysia) “Into the Shadows” ensemble (half-vest, jacket, shirtdress, and hijab), Spring/Summer 2016. Cotton with silk finishing, neoprene Image provided courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The exhibition galleries, designed by Hariri & Hariri Architecture, explore the interplay between the seen and unseen, the idea of being covered and protected yet contemporary and fashionable.

After closing at the de Young Museum on January 6, 2019, the exhibition will travel to Frankfurt’s Museum Angewandte Kunst.

Contemporary Muslim Fashions
de Young | September 22, 2018 – January 6, 2019

The full list of designers participating in Contemporary Muslim Fashions:

Nora Aldamer, Saudi Arabia

Wadha Al Hajri, Qatar

Mashael Alrajhi, Saudi Arabia

Renni Andriani, Indonesia

Raşit Bağzıbağlı, Turkey

Alaa Balkhy, United States/Saudi Arabia

Faiza Bouguessa, United Arab Emirates

Bernard Chandran, Malaysia

Barjis Chohan, United Kingdom

Windri Widiesta Dhari, Indonesia

Sarah Elenany, United Kingdom

Kuaybe Gider, Turkey

Izree Kai Haffiz, Malaysia

Anandia Marina Putri Harahap, Indonesia

Rani Hatta, Indonesia

Nour Kaiss, Canada

Shakeel Karachi, Pakistan

Rebecca Kellett, United Kingdom

Nzinga Knight, United States

Melinda Looi, Malaysia

Mariam Bin Mahfouz, Saudi Arabia

Saiqa Majeed, United Kingdom

Carmen W. Muhammad, United States

Naima Muhammad, United States

Sanaz Nataj, Iran

Nike, United States

Hanan Ozair, United Arab Emirates

Hessa Ozair, United Arab Emirates

Dian Pelangi, Indonesia

Datin Haslinda Abdul Rahim, Malaysia

Maha Abdul Rasheed, United Arab Emirates

Oscar de la Renta, United States

Shereen Sabet, United States

Yves Saint Laurent, France

Khanaan Luqman Shamlan, Indonesia

Céline Semaan Vernon, United States

Zara Shiri, Iran

Yasmin Sobeih, United Kingdom

Shirin Vaqar, Iran

Shiva Vaqar, Iran

Lisa Vogl, United States

Mohd Hafizi Radzi Woo, Malaysia

Itang Yunasz, Indonesia

Aheda Zanetti, Australia

Rabia Zargarpur, United Arab Emirates


Wesaam Al-Badry, United States

Boushra Almutawakel, France

Lalla Essaydi, United States

Alessia Gammarota, United Kingdom

Shadi Ghadirian, Iran

Hengameh Golestan, Iran

Tanya Habjouqa, Palestine

Hassan Hajjaj, Morocco

Langston Hues, Indonesia

Rania Matar, United States

Featured additional work by:

Fatima Abdallah, United States

Ridwan Adhami, United States

Sara Aghajanian, United States

Shepard Fairey, United States

Mona Haydar, United States

Hoda Katebi, United States

Shirin Neshat, United States

Tunde Olaniran, United States

Abbas Rattani, United States

Leah Vernon, United States

Habib Yazdi, United States


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