Designer Todd Oldham to Remix the ’90s in Major RISD Museum Exhibition

He hopes to eliminate "that Hard Rock Cafe-quality" of fashion exhibitions.

Todd Oldham runway, Fall 1991. Photo: Courtesy RISD.
Todd Oldham runway, Fall 1991. Photo: Courtesy RISD.
Todd Oldham. Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Todd Oldham.
Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Anyone who has ever picked up a Bret Easton Ellis novel knows that for a certain crowd, designer Todd Oldham’s shimmering, kaleidoscopic prints were the chicest, most captivating thing a woman in the ’90s could possibly put on. In Ellis’s 1998 novel Glamorama, a character named Allison Poole gushes of an Oldham creation: “It’s an original…I’m gonna make your little girlfriend look like shit!”

Because everything both grunge and post-grunge is cool again, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum will host “All of Everything,” the first major Oldham exhibition to date, from April 8–September 11, 2016.

After bursting onto the New York fashion scene in 1989 with his eponymous clothing line, Oldham revolutionized the look of the decade with his exhaustively detailed, impeccably constructed technicolor garments that could be spotted across a crowded room. This signature aesthetic was, of course, the basis of their appeal among the fashion-conscious crowd.

“We were always throwing curve balls,” Oldham says in a statement. “I felt I had something to say and it was meaningful and had duality and juxtaposition.”

Todd Oldham runway, Spring 1993. Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Todd Oldham runway, Spring 1993.
Photo: Courtesy RISD.

But Oldham was a trailblazer in more than just aesthetics. He was also one of the first designers to prominently feature African American models like Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks wearing his designs, along with hip-hop icons such as Queen Latifah. Now-legendary supermodels such as Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington also owe a debt to the designer, who supported them when they were beginning their careers.

Todd Oldham runway, Spring 1992. Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Todd Oldham runway, Spring 1992.
Photo: Courtesy RISD.

The designer eventually fell out of love with the fashion world, telling the New York Times in 2015 that creating a collection “involved so many countries and so much time and so much expense, I thought: ‘This is insane…It felt like maybe I should be doing something else with my time.”

He went onto explore other creative avenues like furniture and hotel design, television hosting, and book publishing. He has served as a creative director for Escada and Old Navy, and produced one of the first designer home furnishing collections for Target in 2002.

“All of Everything” will feature over 60 outfits included in the Todd Oldham Archives, alongside original artworks and sketches, video projections, photographs, and other ephemera.

The ensembles on display will be styled by Oldham himself, mixing elements from different years to create a never-before-seen Oldham woman that the designer hopes will eliminate “that Hard Rock Cafe-quality of most museum fashion exhibitions.”

See images from the archives below.

Todd Oldham runway, Spring 1998. Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Todd Oldham runway, Spring 1998.
Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Todd Oldham runway, Fall 1997. Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Todd Oldham runway, Fall 1997.
Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Todd Oldham runway, Fall 1996. Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Todd Oldham runway, Fall 1996.
Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Todd Oldham runway, Fall 1994. Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Todd Oldham runway, Fall 1994.
Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Todd Oldham runway, Fall 1991. Photo: Courtesy RISD.

Todd Oldham runway, Fall 1991.
Photo: Courtesy RISD.

“All of Everything” will be on display at the RISD Museum from April 8–September 11, 2016. 


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share