Tie dye is getting its due as high art, thanks to an exhibit opening this week at the de Young. But instead of hippies and Haight Street, the inspiration for the show featuring over 50 textile artifacts from around the world comes from fashion’s current obsession with the fabric dyeing method, which has popped up on runways over the last year in collections from labels such as Gucci, Calvin Klein and Proenza Schouler.
With an emphasis on the resist-dye technique’s use throughout history and across a wide range of cultures, To Dye For includes textiles from as far back as pre-Hispanic Peru (500-900 A.D.) and from countries as diverse as Ivory Coast and Mongolia, as well as modern examples hailing from such well known names in fashion as Rodarte and Oscar de la Renta. Complementing the historical textiles and current apparel examples are original works by Bay Area textile artists, including Ana Lisa Hedstrom and Yoshiko Wada.
That the exhibition marks the first time on display for over half of the items in the show only adds to the intrigue.
Want to see it for yourself? To Dye For opens on July 31 and runs through Jan. 9, 2011 at the de Young.
Photo: Oscar de la Renta ikat trench coat, courtesy of the de Young.