Mixed Media: Costume National’s New Soho Store

by Susi Lu, Fashion Publishing

James Franco collaborates with Costume National.

150 Greene St—At CoSTUME NATIONAL’s new Soho location, there’s a lot more than meets the eye.

A figure slumped against the wall turns out to be a shockingly realistic life-size sculpture; posters on the wall are not advertisements or campaigns, but photos of James Franco in drag; and the first dressing room, converted into a mini-movie theatre, shows private video screenings of Franco’s new video installation every hour on the hour.

These pieces, titled Linda, New Film Stills, and James Franco’s 4o Minutes, respectively, are part of the “NEW NO DARK WAVE” exhibition, a collaborative show curated to kick off the opening of the Italian label’s new Soho location. The historic locale—150 Greene Street—once home to Moss Gallery and Metro Pictures, has a reputation for housing creativity, and sets a high precedent for the brand’s initial exhibit, which fortunately, does not disappoint.

The show not only marks the debut of the Costume National flagship location, but of Franco’s foray into contemporary art. The jack-of-all-trades, best known for his acting, reenacts Cindy Sherman’s self-portraits in New Film Stills, and reimagines the controversial 1980 film Cruising with James Francos’ 40 Minutes.

The other works—created by Tobias Wong, Frédéric Beigbeder, Aaron Young, and Daniel Firman—are united by their minimal aesthetic and delicate perversity. Combined, they successfully reference CoSTUME NATIONAL’s Fall 2012 Collection, playing off the hard-edged geometric silhouettes and subtle edginess.

Despite its high caliber, the exhibition proves even more fleeting than fashion, as it only runs until October 10.