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An Uncommon Thread: Fashion as Fine Art Exhibition Debuts in Bethlehem, PA

In April of 2021, I received an invitation from the Banana Factory Arts Center to design and showcase a collection of couture pieces in my very own solo art exhibit. At the time that I was gleefully accepting this invitation, I never could have imagined how the concept would evolve into what it is today.


As a bridal gown designer, I create two new bridal collections each year, juggle photoshoots and trunk shows, and work with brides from the Lehigh Valley and beyond to create their dream wedding dresses in my Bethlehem studio. Embarking on a new creative journey seemed like the ultimate feat, but as an artist first and foremost, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity despite not knowing the road ahead.


Here I sit, two years later, glossing through the completed exhibition lookbook— mark your calendars, we’re less than a month away from the grand opening of An Uncommon Thread: Fashion as Fine Art. I am enormously proud of this collection of work and relished every moment of the process.


Two years of my team and I pouring our hearts and souls into these designs has culminated in lush textures, intricate details, sculptural silhouettes, the macabre juxtaposed against vibrant florals, harmony, and conflict.


Initially, I wanted to explore the synergy between the natural and artificial, man-made world with the theme of this collection. However, as technology and AI made headlines with promising new innovations, it gradually evolved into an exploration of the light and dark sides of technology versus humanity. The gowns represent both the death and decay of an old paradigm along with the humanity that inevitably bleeds through and endures as a common thread in it all.


Sustainability has always been a cornerstone of the Barbara Kavchok brand, and this couture collection is no exception. We gave new life to the fabric scraps and recycled materials from around our workroom to create each unique gown.


I’ve always described fashion as a participatory art form. Much like the creative journey designing An Uncommon Thread has been, I wanted spectators to feel like they were on a journey as well. A journey through the world of haute couture and sustainability, an expedition through the synergy between the natural and the artificial world, and a voyage through the beauty of fashion and fine art.


If you like art, wine, and hors d'oeuvres (and I mean, WHO DOESN’T?) I hope you will join us for the grand opening of An Uncommon Thread: Fashion as Fine Art on May 5th from 6-9 PM at the Banana Factory’s Crayola Gallery in Southside Bethlehem, PA. Although the couture gowns will be showcased through mid-July, the launch event happens during Southside Bethlehem’s First Friday celebration of art, music, and food. It’s a night to stroll down Third Street, check out the galleries & events, and pop into the local bars and eateries for food, drinks, and live music.


In addition to the Barbara Kavchok couture exhibition, the Crayola Gallery will be hosting an inaugural The People’s Ball on May 6th, from 7-11 PM. The vibe— think “Met Gala of the Lehigh Valley” at this party that celebrates art, style, and our community. This is an event you DON’T want to miss; complete with butlered hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar, a DJ, dancing, a Best in Style runway show and competition judged by local style icons (myself included!), plus a chance to check out the exhibit. Tickets for The People’s Ball are $40 or $35 for ArtsQuest members and can be purchased at the gallery. Check out all the details here!


Since April of 2021, the process of bringing this collection to life has been a labor of love for both me and the Barbara Kavchok Team and we are humbled to share An Uncommon Thread: Fashion as Fine Art couture collection in its entirety. I hope you join us to celebrate the beautiful conclusion of this creative journey at the Banana Factory’s Crayola Gallery and embark on your own through the fusion of fashion and fine art.


See you there!


-xoxo Barbara


Photography by Blank Creative LLC

 

An Uncommon Thread: Fashion as Fine Art will be on display at the Banana Factory Crayola Gallery from May 5th to mid-July 2023. The Banana Factory is located at:


25 W Third Street

Bethlehem, PA 18015


For more details regarding the Barbara Kavchok exhibition, First Friday & The People’s Ball events, location, and parking, please visit https://www.bananafactory.org/.


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