Patricia Michaels with model Joan Severance
Photographer: Bill Curry
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in Native News Online on July 31, 2015. It is being republished today on the day of the fashion show.
Republished October 4, 2015
1 -4 PM: Fashion Show and Reception with Patricia Michaels at the Mayne Stage in Chicago.
CHICAGO — The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is pleased to announce Patricia Michaels (Taos Pueblo) of Project Runway fame will be premiering 20 new looks from her PM Waterlily collection at an exclusive fashion show at Chicago’s Mayne Stage on October 4. The event is being held in conjunction with the museum’s “Native Haute Couture” exhibit that launched in January to much publicity. It will benefit the museum and its mission to promote and share a deeper understanding and respect of American Indian peoples.
Ms. Michaels is the first Native designer to appear on Project Runway, as well the first Native designer to have a show at NYC’s Bryant Park Fashion Week. Last year, she received the prestigious Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Arts and Design Award from the museum board of directors in New York City.
“It is an honor to be included in the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian ‘Native Haute Couture’ exhibit,” states Michaels. “To share my heritage through handcrafted design is a dream come true. Once again I’m thrilled to be with some of the first people who collected and supported my work. As an alumni of the SAIC many compassionate members of the Mitchell Museum embraced me and my designs. To show my collection in this beautiful environment is like revisiting a part of who I am.”
While Ms. Michaels has wowed audiences with her elegant designs inspired by her Taos Pueblo heritage, the emergence of “Native hipster” looks misusing feathers and face-paint have shocked Native communities. To bridge the cultural divide, this very special event will celebrate the success of Native fashion designers and encourage positive fashion collaborations that respect Native culture.
“We are thrilled that Patricia Michaels, one of the biggest names in Native fashion today, is joining us for this incredible event,” said Kathleen McDonald, Executive Director at Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. “With the popularity of American Indian designs, Native designers like Ms. Michaels are reclaiming ownership and authenticity of their traditional designs and heritage, and are taking their well- deserved spotlight on fashion runways.”
The Mitchell Museum is currently undertaking a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help offset the cost of bringing Ms. Michaels in and producing the event. With a budget of $20,000, the event will cost more than revenue from ticket sales can generate. Because of a generous donation from Col. (IL.) Jennifer N. Pritzker IL ARNG (Ret), more than half of the money has already been raised to produce the event, and all additional donations up to $9,000 will be matched. With a goal to raise $4,000 through Indiegogo, the fashion show will be fully funded, and all additional revenue will go to supporting Mitchell Museum programs. You can help the museum reach its goal, and join the celebration of successful Native fashion designers like Ms. Michaels by going to https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/endorse-authentic-native-fashions/x/10516325#/story. This link will take you directly to the Mitchell Museum campaign. All donation levels have perk options ranging from a VIP dinner with Ms. Michaels and other top donors the evening before the event to a set of Native fashion themed note cards.
Tickets for the event will go on sale August 15, 2015. Tickets range in price from $75-$100, with VIP packages available. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketweb.com. The fashion show event begins at 1pm and will include a talk by Ms. Michaels at the conclusion of the fashion show with time for Q&A, as well as a reception with food and drink where guests can purchase Ms. Michaels’ PM Waterlily designs. An add-on option includes a private tour of the museum’s “Native Haute Couture” exhibit before the event.
“Native Haute Couture” celebrates the history of Native American high fashion from pre-contact to today. The year-long exhibit features unique and priceless garments that showcase American Indian artistry and expertise in tanning, weaving, embroidery, beadwork and tailoring. From ceremonies and pow wows, to celebrations and fashion runways, Native Americans have always had a sense of high fashion and adornment.
Patricia Michaels grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and spent a lot of time on the Taos Pueblo where much of her family lived. Today, Ms. Michaels continues to draw inspiration from her Native roots. PM Waterlily designs are custom made out of Ms. Michael’s Taos, NM studio, and include high-end limited edition apparel and casual lines form both men and women. She chooses to work with organic materials whenever possible, and hand-dyes and paints her fabrics. Each design she produces showcases nature’s influence.
The Mitchell Museum is one of only a handful of museums in the country that focuses exclusively on the art, history and culture of American Indian and First Nation peoples throughout the United States and Canada. In 2012, the Mitchell Museum was named “Best Museum of The North Shore: Up and Comer” by Make it Better magazine, won the Superior award by the Illinois Association of Museums and was named a national finalist by the American Association of State and Local History award program.