Body Unbound 

4 stars

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Body Unbound features innovative designs from a block-buster cast of contemporary and avant-garde fashion designers. These artists and their designs thwart traditional notions of clothing as functional, and instead elevate the body to canvas and fashion to art. Upon entering the exhibit, the viewer is immediately reminded of the juxtaposition between fashion and function by Rudi Gernreich's notorious "monokini" – the first topless swimsuit. Full coverage on the bottom is suspended by two halter straps rising through the cleavage of the bared chest. Famous for his "futuristic" and "controversial" designs, Gernreich's avocado dress with orange trim from 1961 is soft and skimpy with a high rounded neck and large geometric holes on either side of the torso. Also on display, several pieces from the French bad-boy of fashion, Franco Moschino. Upon first glance, Moschino's pale green wool suit appears to be in the style of a classic Chanel suit with slim skirt and braided trim. After a closer look, the viewer realizes the double "cc " buttons are missing and instead, cowbells hang in their place – irreverently poking fun at the upscale designer. Gianni Versace's cat suit from 1991 features body as art. A skintight cat suit adorned with bold and graphic screen prints of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean unmercifully pay homage to Andy Warhol's pop art style. Other designers on display include Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe, and Thierry Mugler. Through January 30, 2011.

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