In the middle of the 18th century in the city of Ancona on the Adriatic coast of central Italy, a young Jewish girl, about age 15, produced a stunning work of embroidery.
In many ways, Edith Halpert embodied the spirit of American pragmatism, which is how she explained herself: “I either had to stagnate, which was a thing I dreaded, or go ahead, and the only way to go ahead was to do something beyond what I was doing.”
Rudolph “Rudi” Gernreich was one of the most prominent fashion designers of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. His revolutionary designs and avant-garde collections embodied his vision of fashion as a liberating force that defied conventional ideas of beauty, identity and gender. “Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich,” on view through September 1 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, is the first exhibition to focus on the social and cultural impact of the influential designer’s body of work.