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Google virtual exhibition features fashion collection of Smithsonian museum
A brown satin halter-top gown with gold music-themed embellishments designed by Peter Davy.

WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has joined more than 180 cultural institutions from New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, São Paulo and around the world for the “We Wear Culture” project presented by the Google Cultural Institute. The newly launched fashion project represents the largest virtual exhibition of global style showcasing clothing evolution around the world and examining the cultural significance of the clothes worn today.

Using state-of-the-art technology, “We Wear Culture” allows users to explore everything from the career of the father of haute couture, Charles Frederick Worth, to the ancient Silk Road trade route, through the courtly fashions of Versailles to the anarchic style of the British punk movement and beyond.

The museum’s newly curated online exhibition, A Look at the Black Fashion Museum Collection and Designer Peter Davy, gives fashion and black history enthusiasts an introduction to highlights from the Black Fashion Museum, which was founded by Lois K. Alexander-Lane. The entire collection contains nearly 2,000 objects that are currently being cataloged for future display and access by fashion scholars and researchers. In addition, the online exhibition is an opportunity for visitors to learn more about Alexander-Lane and enjoy more than 50 stunning gowns created by Afro-Caribbean designer Peter Davy. Highlights include:

• A brown satin halter-top gown with gold music-themed embellishments designed by Peter Davy and a black, skin-tight dress embellished with a black sequined hand with red fingernails

• Dresses sewn by civil rights activist Rosa Parks and created by the first African American designer of note, Anne Lowe

• Stories about and photos of Black Fashion Museum founder, Alexander-Lane

“It is not only exciting, but also rewarding to increase the number of access points people use to experience our collections through the ‘We Wear Culture’ digital platform,” said Elaine Nichols, senior curator for culture for the museum. “We are able to engage and educate an unlimited number of people about black fashion through the ages, ensuring that its contributors are honored and always remembered.”

In an effort to enhance its collection of Davy images, stories and objects, the museum is also inviting people who might have known the designer to share their memories.

The “We Wear Culture” exhibition is available online and through the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS and Android.

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