As the MFA’s new fashion curator, theo tyson plans to undress sartorial truths and address the community

This is the type of museum culture we want. Our stories are more authentic when there is diversity in thought, experience, identity, and opinion among our curators.

tyson earned a master’s degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has worked in fashion for 20 years: on the retail floor of Victoria’s Secret, as a fashion show producer and stylist at Bloomingdale’s, as project manager at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, and stylist and researcher at the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Georgia.

They plan to use the MFA for this purpose. fashion to be in conversation with the community, to celebrate Boston’s own fashionPast, present, and the future.

“Fashion is one of the most approachable forms of art,”Tyson, who was previously a Polly Thayer Starr Fellow at the Boston Athenaeum in American Art, said: “All fashion is not art, but self-fashioning is an art. You never meet anyone naked. There’s a sense of understanding in fashion everyone can participate in a way that is personal but also communal. I want openness, and I want to get people excited about fashion.”

Celebrating Boston’s and New England’s fashionTyson recently moved from Atlanta to Haverhill and is a big fan of stories. Shoes have been on tyson’s mind as they start to think about the massive fashionThe MFA has a collection for you to explore. The region has a rich shoe history.

“Being able to make those connections to history, to explore textile mills and factories that are still in Lowell and Lawrence — that is fashion, and it is part of American history,”Tyson says. “I want to move away from a super-encyclopedic museum and into a space that does not make distinctions of what is high and low culture but focuses on art and how we engage with it.”

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theo Tyson at SCAD FASH Museum Of Fashion + Film in GeorgiaAcquille Dunkley

Garments can be stunning, disarming and simply breathtaking. But what about the story behind the garment’s creation? What is the story of the making of the garment? outfitHow do you feel wearing it? How do you feel when you see it What’s happening in the year that you are wearing your clothes? It matters when the stories are told.

“I am really excited about exhibition,”Tyson says. “The collaborations. I am talking to curators and doing a lot of listening. We have half a million objects in our collection. That’s a lot of material to engage with, but there are a lot of people to engage with, too. Fashion makes people feel things. Fashion is a part of our memory, our current memory, our ancestral memory, and our future memories. I want people to gather and gleam all of those feelings.”

Tyson was raised in a military household as a child and learned early the power to fashion. The dignity in the shine of her dad’s boots, the proud, sharp creases of his pants, the way her mom set the vibe of the house by ensuring everyone came to the dinner table dressed and with their hair done.

At their most basic and essential, clothes cover us. But fashionIt is an introduction to identity, an extension of identity and a story. It is also a freedom.

“Fashion creates the ability to take garments and construct various identities and resist other constructed identities,”Tyson says. “There were uniforms enslaved people were forced to wear, Negro cloth. So having any sartorial sense is a sense of equity and humanity.”

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Tyson has spent a lot time studying the 19th century. fashionAnd the way identity or protest could be communicated using a rising hemline and a suit. Here, in the 21st Century, with printed matter like T shirts that read “Black Lives Matter” “The Future Is Female.”Tyson points out that even wearing a white button down shirt is to make an impact. It can be worn by a woman and still have the power and respect reserved for men.

Every morning, Tyson puts on either black or white. Lenny Kravitz is her muses. The power, the clean lines, and the way the colors can be both hard and soft at the same time.

“Fashion is a language that allows you to communicate and establish relationships and not say a word,”Tyson says. “Wearing all black is affirming, and I associate a little bit of it to Alexander McQueen wanting people to be afraid of the women he dressed, to respect them. My personality is the most colorful thing, and there’s no need to compete with it.”

Tyson is seen sitting in the MFA a few months before their job starts. They seem to be taking it all in, declaring that there is no painting at the MFA. fashion doesn’t have room to be.

“Even if it’s a nude, fashion is a part of the conversation,”Tyson says. “Fashion is a part of our lives, the way we live in it, how we show up, how we talk about it and don’t talk about it. If fashion wasn’t so powerful, men would have never stopped wearing heels.”

theo tyson has stories to tell, and they’re going to be haute.

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Jeneé Osterheldt can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @sincerelyjenee.

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