Contemporary threads opening reception

4 Project Runway Alums are Included in Wisconsin Fashion Exhibit

See the designs on display at the Pfister Hotel before the exhibit’s June launch at the MOWA.

The Pfister Hotel’s Pop-Up Gallery was chockablock with color, texture and Project Runway references on Friday, when the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) treated fashion fans to a preview of their summer exhibition “Contemporary Threads: Wisconsin Fashion.”

Contemporary threads opening reception
Photo by Emanuel Rios

The show, which opens on June 3 and runs through August 20, includes work by 10 contemporary designers with Wisconsin connections. Among them are Project Runway alumnae Peach Carr, Miranda Levy-Adler, Linda Breshears Marcus and Katelyn Pankoke. Also featured in the exhibition are local designers Lynne Dixon-Speller, Shannon Molter, Tama Roberts, Sara Terrell, Alex Ulichny and Heidi Witz.

Though their personal styles differ, all 10 of the designers create wearable works of art that blend the accessible and the avant-garde. And, according to MOWA Executive Director Laurie Winters, they all use “fashion and their personal style to reinforce identity or make social statements that capture their greatest aspirations.”

Many of the designers attended the Friday preview, including Miranda Levy-Adler, whose fire-engine red lipstick and eyeglasses perfectly matched one of her whimsical designs—a partially transparent jacket festooned with brightly colored, blocky letters—on display at the event. Levy-Adler explained that her day-to-day experiences as a new mother have influenced much of her recent work. “I got the idea for this piece while watching my son’s alphabet magnets slide down our fridge,” she said. “I’m often inspired by interior spaces.”

Contemporary threads opening reception
Designer Miranda Levy-Adler; Photo by Emanuel Rios

Levy-Adler was joined at the event by MOWA curators and many

Contemporary threads opening reception
Photo by Emanuel Rios

other designers, including Milwaukee’s own Heidi Witz, who owns a boutique at 2218 N Farwell Ave and favors clothing that flatters a variety of body types. “I like the femininity of ruffles,” Witz said, gesturing to one of her curve-hugging designs, a sheer black dress embroidered with rosettes. “But I want my clothes to work for all of my customers. There are a lot of practicalities to consider.”

Other practicalities to consider: the MOWA is located at 205 Veteran’s Avenue, in West Bend. And if you missed the Friday-night preview of the exhibition at the Pfister, you can still see “Contemporary Threads” in its entirety there. The museum will be hosting an opening party, complete with fashion-themed music by DJ Michael Weiss, on June 17. And it will also be presenting a Project Runway Panel and a Fashion 411 panel in conjunction with the exhibition later this summer.

So, if you’re trying to find time in your schedule this summer to see the exhibition, you’ll have several opportunities to (as sartorial superstar Tim Gunn would say) “make it work.”



Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.