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Fashion Forward

Culture Watch
Fashion Project’s “Anniversary” exhibition, marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of Bal Harbour Shops.

By Jessica Michault

In Bal Harbour Shops never ending pursuit to create a rich and diverse luxury experience for its shoppers, the Fashion Project exhibition space was born. Established just four months ago, Fashion Project is a creative space used to celebrate the beauty, power and cultural influence of fashion on the world. The new exhibition, FP04: The Anniversary, marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Shops. Here, we speak to Cathy Leff, who conceived and developed Fashion Project, about her plans for the venue, her dream exhibition and who her fashion idol is.

How did the Fashion Project get its start?
It was instigated by the creative vision of Matthew Whitman Lazenby, CEO of Whitman Family Development, who wanted to offer a “cultural” gift to the community on the occasion of Bal Harbour Shops’ 50th anniversary year. We wanted to celebrate Bal Harbour Shops not only as a center for the consumption of luxury fashion but also a hub for the consumption of fashion culture. We were delighted that internationally acclaimed fashion curator and exhibition-maker Judith Clark agreed to sign on as the project’s curator.

The anniversary exhibition is all about the connection between flora and fashion, but isn’t there also a nod to the look and feel of Bal Harbour Shops in that choice as well?
Absolutely! Judith intentionally curated FP04: The Anniversary to celebrate the love affair between nature and fashion designers as well as the love Bal Harbour Shops has placed on creating the lush, tropical landscape that has defined it.

If you could do an exhibit at Fashion Project on any subject or designer what would it be?
I am fascinated how culture travels. So, while I am not a fashion curator—nor do I pretend to be—I might enjoy looking at if and how street culture has made its way into mainstream and luxury fashion.

Who is your fashion idol?
Without competition, the brilliant Rei Kawakubo.

Is there anything else we should know about Fashion Project?
We are excited to be offering a “fashion in film” festival on January 28-31, as part of The Anniversary celebration. It will be curated by Marketa Uhlirova of Central St Martins, one of the world’s leading centers for art and design education, and Tom Gunning of the University of Chicago, Film and Media Studies Department. The festival, entitled “WEARING TIME: RETURNS, RECALLS, RENEWALS,” will bring together a diverse array of films across cinema history, exploring how film and fashion draw upon each other as a means to evoke and reflect on the past, connect to the present, and think about the future.

Photography by Silvia Ros.


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