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The Creative Collaboration Between Rudi Gernreich\, Peggy Moffitt\, and William Claxton

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This exhibition will celebrate the remarkable collaborat ion between the great fashion designer Rudi Gernreich\, his model and muse Peggy Moffitt\, and Moffitt's late husband\, the photographer William Claxt on\, who created the distinctive images of Moffitt activating Gernreich's d esigns. The exhibition will feature selected looks from Moffitt's definitiv e collection\, with films and photographs by Claxton of Moffitt modeling th e clothes. "Fashion will go out of fashion" is one of Gernreich's many memo rable declarations\, but his designs continue to resonate\, looking contemp orary 50 years after they were made. Gernreich told Moffitt about a dream h e had shortly before his death in 1985. "I had a dream last night that I wa s in a graveyard and I saw my own tombstone. I went up to it and it said\, 'He was always 10 years ahead of his time."" "He was wrong of course\," Mof fitt recalled\, "he was always 30 years ahead of his time." Gernreich\, Mof fitt\, and Claxton were central figures in the Los Angeles art community in the 1960s and "70s\, and were known for their friendships and collaboratio ns with other artists. Gernreich"s work incorporates and prefigures many of the innovations of pop\, minimal\, and performance art. The exhibition wil l be curated by Cameron Silver\, the fashion historian and founder of Decad es\, in collaboration with curatorial coordinators Ethel Seno and Jhordan D ahl. Christopher Claxton\, the son of Moffitt and Claxton and the Director of the Claxton Archive has helped to coordinate the presentation of the pho tographs and films. The exhibition will be designed by Marmol Radziner.

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Rudi Gernreich (b. 1922\, Vienna\, Austria\; d. 1985\, Los Angeles) arrived in Los Angeles as a refugee in 1938 at the age of 16\, six months after th e Anschluss. His first job in the United States was as an assistant at a mo rtuary. Commenting on this experience\, Gernreich recalled that he "grew up overnight." "There I was with all those dead bodies\," he said. "Eventuall y I got used to the corpses. But I do smile sometimes when people tell me m y clothes are so body-conscious I must have studied anatomy. You bet I stud ied anatomy!" Gernreich studied art at Los Angeles City College\, worked in the publicity department at RKO Studios\, and once replaced a friend as a sketch artist for costume designer Edith Head. After watching a performance by Martha Graham's modern dance company\, he abandoned art to study with t he choreographer Lester Horton\, whom Gernreich described as "a kind of Wes t Coast Martha Graham." As Marylou Luther wrote in the introduction to Moff itt and Claxton's book on Gernreich\, "he became less interested in the sta tic details of clothes and more concerned with how they looked in motion."< /span>

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Gernreich remained engaged with the dance community and later designed c ostumes for Bella Lewitzky\, one of his fellow dancers in the Horton compan y\, but by the late forties\, he had returned to fashion design. Drawing on his experience with dance\, Gernreich predicted that "the aesthetics of fa shion are going to involve the body itself. We will train the body to grow beautifully rather than cover it to produce beauty." After a short period o n Seventh Avenue\, where he became disappointed by the way the fashion busi ness looked to Paris rather than America for inspiration\, he returned to L os Angeles. Working for sportswear and swimwear manufacturers like Walter B ass and Westwood Knitting Mills\, Gernreich started to receive recognition and awards for innovations such as the first knitted tube dress and the fir st unconstructed swimsuit\, but he was frustrated by the required commercia l compromises. Gernreich solidified his stature as one of the preeminent in dependent American designers when he started his own company in 1960.

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Peggy Moffitt (b. 1937) was Gernreich's favorite model and m use. Her profound dialogue with Gernreich enabled her to embody his design aesthetic\, not just to model it but to perform it. Her unique modern look and her innovations in the art of modeling continue to inspire a younger ge neration and have made her a fashion icon.

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William Claxton (b. 1927\, Pasadena\, California\; d. 2008\, Los Angeles)\, America's p reeminent jazz photographer\, who is also known for his celebrity/personali ty photographs and album cover designs\, was married to Moffitt. He began p hotographing Gernreich's work in 1957 and documented every single collectio n from 1962. Claxton's film\, Basic Black: William Claxton w/ Peggy Mof fitt (1967)\, which will be featured in the exhibition\, is considered the forerunner of fashion film.

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The exhibition also celebrates the coll aboration between Gernreich\, Moffitt\, Claxton\, and the legendary hair de signer Vidal Sassoon. Moffitt met Sassoon at a photo shoot for the "No Bra" bra at Richard Avedon’s studio in 1965 and later introduced him to Gernrei ch. Sassoon's modern hair design became a key element in Moffitt's unique l ook and Gernreich’s distinctive "total look."

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The Total Look: The Cr eative Collaboration between Rudi Gernreich\, Peggy Moffitt\, and William C laxton is presented by M∙A∙C Cosmetics.

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Additional support is provi ded by Dr. Gabriel Chiu - Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery\, Inc.\, Matthias K ind\, Sally and Michel Perrin - Perrin Paris 1893\, and Eugene Sadovoy.

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The care and restoration of the collection is generously provided by Margar et's Cleaners.

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Generous support for MOCA Pacific Design Center is provid ed by Charles S. Cohen.

DTEND:20120527 DTSTAMP:20141025T152111 DTSTART:20120226 GEO:34.0931603;-118.3783347 LOCATION:MOCA Pacific Design Center\,8687 Melrose Ave. Design Plaza G102\nW est Hollywood\, CA 90069 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:The Total Look\, William Claxton\, Rudi Gernreich\, Peggy Moffitt UID:199082 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20120226T180000 DTSTAMP:20141025T152112 DTSTART:20120226T110000 GEO:34.0931603;-118.3783347 LOCATION:MOCA Pacific Design Center\,8687 Melrose Ave. Design Plaza G102\nW est Hollywood\, CA 90069 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:The Total Look\, William Claxton\, Rudi Gernreich\, Peggy Moffitt UID:199083 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR