Mod Women (and Men): NMWA’s Late Night Costume Party

The National Museum of Women in the Arts experienced a blast from the past on October 30 for NMWA Late Nights: Mod Women (and Men). Costumes, dancing, cocktails, and tours accompanied the after-hours party for NMWA’s exhibition opening of Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today. The exhibition, organized by the Museum of Arts and Design, highlights women’s contributions to modern design and the way their aesthetic has influenced contemporary art.

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Left: NMWA’s Great Hall, Right: Vintage Vagabond pop-up in the Museum Shop; Jack Hartzman Photography

The museum’s Great Hall was filled with 300 guests decked out in their finest mod-inspired outfits, highlighting the exhibition’s midcentury theme. As guests arrived they were welcomed by the Vintage Vagabond pop-up shop in the Museum Shop. The first of its kind at NMWA, the pop-up shop enabled attendees to peruse a selection of vintage apparel including gloves, dresses, and kitten heels. Guests also received prop cat-eye and wayfarer glasses that were perfect for the photo booth.

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Visitors examine Dorothy Liebes’s work in Pathmakers; Jack Hartzman Photography

Visitors explored the exhibition through staff-led spotlight tours. They enjoyed the eye-catching, industrial bench by Vivian Beer and marveled at a metallic textile work by Marianne Strengell.

Examining the intersections between art and mass production, visitors were intrigued by Eva Zeisel’s timeless ceramics—coveted for decades everywhere from posh antique shops to Crate and Barrel.

Between tours exploring the more than 80 works in Pathmakers, the multigenerational audience was entertained by songs ranging from swing music to ’90s pop. Guests mingled while resting on sleek lounge furniture worthy of the Mad Men set and enjoyed signature “Mod Martinis” with Green Hat Gin, “Mad Mai Tais” with Plantation Rum, and a fully stocked fondue bar and pigs in a blanket supplied by Well Dunn Catering.

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Mod Women (and Men) attendees; Jack Hartzman Photography

The night’s enthusiastic attendees helped celebrate the opening of Pathmakers in style. Throughout the event, NMWA staff scoped out the best costumes and awarded a prize to the winner—though it was hard to choose! Costumes featured attire inspired by the 1950s, psychedelic hippies, and the iconic Jackie O.

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Attendees with cat-eye glasses (right) and dancing (left); Jack Hartzman Photography

Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today is on view through February 28, 2016. Stay tuned for news about the next event, explore #ModsterMash and #NMWAnights for more posts, see more pictures on Pinterest, and check out the museum’s calendar for upcoming listings.

—Bria Burditt is the development events intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.