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Posts Tagged ‘de Young Museum’

 

One summer day several years ago I spotted on the Mills College campus (where I worked at the time) a Muslim woman dressed in a long narrow skirt and tunic top both in a lightweight fabric and in a lovely shade of mauve. Her hijab was pale purple, which blended so nicely with the mauve. She was wearing a pair of high heel sandals in tan and carried a tan satchel handbag. She looked chic and I wanted to talk to her and take her photo for the blog but she was a visiting professor and I didn’t want to intrude.

That woman is still vivid in my mind because it was then that I realized that 1. I hadn’t given Muslim dress much thought and 2. Muslim dress can be chic.

Of course it can!

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Design by Nzinga Knight, the first contestant on Project Runway to wear a hijab.

I have been thinking about this form of dress ever since and so I was excited to attend the press preview for Contemporary Muslim Fashions, the current fashion exhibit on now at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

“… modest fashion, or clothes that allow the wearer to remain relatively concealed but also appear stylish, has become one of the most pervasive international fashion stories in the past five years,” say exhibit curators, Jill D’Alessandro and Laura Camerlengo. When young Muslim women took to the Internet and blogging after not seeing themselves reflected in mass media, mass media took notice. As modest dress designers began to reach for a broader global appeal, the fashion industry took notice.

Reina Lewis, Professor of Cultural Studies at London College of Fashion and consultant to this exhibit says that the Muslim market for modest fashions is estimated at 44 billion US dollars this year and is expected to grow. “The style parade of cool Muslim women, often recognizable by their wearing a head-cover of some sort, is becoming a significant style story,” she explains. “If you are a trend forecaster, it is not hard to spot this vibrant cohort.”

They’re on it – H&M, Uniqlo, and Nike among others have recently produced items for modest dress.

 

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Designs by  Itang Yunasz using Indonesian ikat fabric. These remind me very much of Yves Saint Laurent.

 

With 80 ensembles representing 53 designers from the Middle East, Indonesia, Malaysia, Europe, Canada, and the United States, Contemporary Muslim Fashions is the first extensive museum exploration of Muslim modest dress and the influence it’s having on fashion around the world. Featured are day wear, sportswear, formal, and Haute Couture. Additionally there are photographs and videos to help contextualize the fashions on display.

Several of the included designers traveled to San Francisco to join the opening celebrations. I spoke with Indonesian designer Itang Yunasz, who was pleased to be part of this notable exhibit. Yunasz began his fashion career 37 years ago designing exclusive luxury clothing for women.  In 2000 he chose to include modest dress in his collections to offer luxury and style for Muslim women who wish to dress modestly. He soon became known as the “Modest Wear Trendsetter.” Yunasz’s signature look is combining luxury with references to his native country.  “I’m always designing with a touch of Indonesia,” he explained. Included in the exhibit are pieces made of handwoven ikat fabric, an Indonesian technique in which the fabric pattern is formed by weaving individual dyed yarns. For drape and flow in his silhouettes he also used silk, printed or digitized from ikat fabric. (Pictured above.)

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Another designer from Indonesia, Khanaan Luqman Shamlan uses batik fabric, which is a wax-resist dye technique.  Shamlan’s family owned a batik fabric factory and with that background she is determined to “see batik go global.”

Each region represented has varying styles and bring their own cultural differences to their designs. The Middle East might be more austere, Malaysia more colorful. There are examples of simple and ornate pieces, even tailored and whimsical. Not all ensembles include a headscarf as not all Muslim women wear one. Something I learned is that couture houses have for many years custom altered their designs for Muslim clients. On display are several couture gowns altered to fit the needs of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al Missned, of Qatar.

 

Looking at the array of designs, it occurred to me that without the hijab some of these ensembles don’t read specifically Muslim and might appeal to any fashionable woman. For example Khanaan Luqman Shamlan’s designs pictured above are just beautiful gowns. Indeed, Professor Lewis commented that many of the designers included in this exhibit reported to her that 40 to 50 percent of their customers are not Muslims, but women of other faiths or women of no particular faith.

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Another example of a design that fits modest needs but is also avant garde and might appeal to a variety of  women. By Mashael Al Rajhi from Saudi Arabia. Merino wool, velvet.

There is much to learn from Contemporary Muslim Fashions about different cultures, different women, and how we can all meet at the intersection of fashion and style.

Contemporary Muslim Fashions is on now through January 6th, 2019. Click here for more information. 

 

 

 

 

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Desert Dream designed by Rasit Bagzibagli for Madanisa. Photo courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Muslim fashion and Muslim clothing is not a uniform … it’s more than that. What we see here are great women, open-minded, willful, strong women showing the world that they care about fashion and they have a great sense of style. 

Kerim Ture, CEO Modanisa.

Ture started Modanisa, a retail website dedicated to offering fashionable modest clothing, in 2011 after realizing that Muslim women wanted more choices in their clothing. By 2014 the website shipped to 50 countries, offered 300 brands, and represented 28 designers.  They processed approximately one million orders that year.

I think he was on to something.

Check back this week for my coverage of Contemporary Muslim Fashions, the current fashion exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

 

 

 

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This quintessential hippie look is not usually my style but I was immediately drawn to it, particularly the denim skirt. I think perhaps because of my recent adventure into sewing, I see clothing a little differently.

IMG_20170406_184212208I’m inspired by the idea of reuse and patching denim pieces to create something new. But even more exciting to me is the exposed hand stitching in various bright colors. There is something very charming about that.

In our modern era of massed produced fast fashion it’s exciting to see handcrafted clothing that people took time with and cared about.

Find some Summer of Love favorites for yourself at The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll on now through August 20, 2017 at the de Young Museum, San Francisco.

Be there or be square!

 

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This is a suede coat in maroon from 1970. Suede was really popular back then, used for coats, vests, and handbags.

I love the color and the trim fit makes it super chic. The details are sharp – note the tucked shoulders and wide lapels in a contracting neutral color.

The coat is paired with what was called at the time, decorated denim. It was the done thing to piece together various denim swatches creating a new look. Beads, patches, and embroidery were also used. The pant leg hems are left raw, which is a trend happening today, as is decorated denim but we’re calling it embellished.

One of the aspects of fashion that I’m attracted to in this era is the use of vintage. There was a mixing up of styles from past decades including the 1920s, as we see here with the cloche hat. I like the creativity and uniqueness of combining modern with vintage.

Come back tomorrow for another favorite look from The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll.

 

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Sporting pink flowers in an up-swept hairdo, Dede Wilsey, San Francisco Arts Museums Board Chair shared her memories of The Summer of Love in opening remarks to the press for the preview of The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll.

“I was an infant at the time but extremely sophisticated,” she said with a wink in her voice. Mrs. Wilsey arrived in San Francisco as a young adult in 1965, when, she says, Haight-Ashbuy was more pure in spirit with no homeless and no crime. Young people gathered “… sitting in the sun with flowers in their hair soaking it all up.” You could go to the famous corner and get your picture taken to send home, perhaps to rather worried parents.

San Francisco is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love and the de young Museum is offering an exhibition that gives us a peek back to that magical time unique to our city.

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Hand crochet and knit were popular looks of the era.

 

In the mid-1960s, artists, activists, writers, and musicians were heading to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood attracted by cheap rents. In 1967 the area was home to over 100,000 young people from all around the country. They began to form their own community using nearby Golden Gate Park as their hangout spot. This was a time of developing changes in politics, art, fashion, and music with hippies, as they were called, working together on their shared beliefs and aesthetics.

The Summer of Love Experience exhibits more than 300 cultural artifacts of the time, including Rock & Roll posters, photographs of people in the neighborhood, and fashion, much of which is from the museum’s permanent collection but there are also key pieces on loan from private collectors.

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Hippies were interested in all things anti-establishment, particularly in how they dressed. The look was about natural and hand-made with influences from Native America, the Wild West, and vintage. Jill D’Alessandro, curator of textile and costume at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, pointed out that during that time the Western Addition neighborhood was getting redeveloped; long-time residents of aging Victorian buildings were forced to move and that resulted in piles and piles of vintage clothing showing up at thrift stores selling for next to nothing.

This dubious serendipity contributed to the unique fashions we see in this exhibit, many of which I can imagine wearing today. Local designers of the era included Jeanne Rose, Birgitta Bjerke, Mickey McGowan, and Burray Olson. Their approach was hand-made and re-purposed working with denim, leather, embroidery, beading, knit, crochet, and tie-dye. Designers and non-designers alike were influenced by, and reusing, the Victorian and Edwardian treasures they were collecting from establishments such as The Third Hand Shop, which was one of the first to embrace the vintage resale market.

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Morning Glory silk blouse and Snake knit pants by Jeanne Rose.

Jeanne Rose, who has lived in the Haight since 1964, put together costumes for local bands, designed her own clothing, and hung out with Janis Joplin. Several of her creations are part of this exhibit including a knit pair of pants and a silk blouse she calls Morning Glory. I ran into Jeanne while we walked the exhibit and she told me that she wore this one herself and it is among her favorites, pointing out the beauty and grace of the sleeves on the blouse. She exclaimed, “I love it.”

Most of the galleries include displays of both men’s and women’s clothing making this a wonderland for fashionables, particularly those interested in fashion history. Added bonus – in some cases the mannequins are close enough to get a good view of construction.

Groovy music from Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and other Bay Area bands play in the background to set the mood. If  you’re up for trippin’ head to the room with psychedelic lighting and beanbag chairs.

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A small slice of the Poster Room.

 

The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll is on now through August 20th, 2017 at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Wait there’s more! Each day this week I’m posting a different photo from this exhibit to take a closer look at some of my favorite fashion pieces. So, check back … better yet, subscribe (button top right) and get an e-mail alert with every new post on OverDressedforLife.  Ooh man, that’s far out!

 

 

 

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IMG_20170406_181138357Linda Gravenites turns them out slowly and turns them out well and only turns them out for those she likes.

Janis Joplin (1943-1970)

Janis is speaking to Vogue magazine in 1968 about her friend Linda Gravenites, who at one time was her roommate and her stage costume designer.

The pictured beaded bag was made for Janis by her friend, Linda – glass beads and silk embroidered on goat skin. Wow!

This bag is on display at The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll, an exhibition at the de Young Museum celebrating the 50th anniversary of the magical summer in 1967, that could happen only in San Francisco.

I was attracted to Janis’ bag because of course it’s beautiful but also it’s an excellent example of the hippie fashion aesthetic. Young people of the 1960s mixed it all up: handcrafting, re-purposing combined with influences such as the Wild West and vintage. Victorian and Edwardian clothing in particular were favorites as both men and women picked up for a song blouses, skirts, suits, and hats at local thrift stores and flea markets.

This hand-beaded bag is reminiscent of the Edwardian period when women sported a demure reticule, handy for only a handkerchief. Janis’ bag is larger and must have taken quite some time (and eye strain) to make. No wonder Linda had to really like someone to turn out one of these.

Stay tuned – there’s more to come about The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll on OverDressedforLife.

 

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Ask anyone who had the pleasure of meeting American fashion designer Oscar de la Renta – the man was: a gentleman, a loyal friend, humble, generous, gracious, and … “full of wicked charm,” according to his close friend and former fashion Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley.

Certainly this kind of affection for Mr. de la Renta can be felt in the current exhibition Oscar de La Renta: A Retrospective at the de Young museum in San Francisco. During the press preview last week, Dede Wilsey, President of the Board of Trustees of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco shared that this exhibit was a true labor of love, “It was like having a baby for a really long time but it turned out to be a beautiful baby.”

Ms. Wilsey, who had been a good friend of Mr. de la Renta’s, explained that she approached him with the idea of a retrospective in 2014 at the annual Saks Fifth Avenue and the League to Save Lake Tahoe Fashion Show, something he had supported for years. He resisted at first saying “it’s ostentatious” but by the end of the day he agreed. “Two months later he was dead,” Ms. Wilsey said in an unusually shaky voice. He had lost his battle with cancer.

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One of Andre Leon Talley’s favorite pieces owned and often worn by Annette de la Renta. Black tulle, black silk taffeta applique. 2005

Guest curated by Mr. Talley, this exhibit is a simple representation of Mr. de la Renta’s long career designing elegant clothing for well-heeled ladies. He dressed First Ladies (Republicans and Democrats alike), socialites and celebrities. Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Dede Wilsey, Anna Wintour, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Taylor Swift were just some on the list of happy clients. “He lived the world he dressed,” Mr. Talley said, explaining his success.

Oscar de la Renta was born in 1932 to a prominent family in the Dominican Republic. In his youth he left for Spain to study art and ended up becoming a sketch artist for Balenciaga. From there he moved to Paris to design for Lanvin and then America to work for Elizabeth Arden. By the 1960s he was running his own design house and in 1969 he became an American citizen.

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Tailor Swift sporting de la Renta in 2014. Photo courtesy of FAMSF.

Included in this exhibition are pieces loaned from Fashion Institute of Technology, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Kent State University and private collectors, including his second wife, Annette. Among the standouts are Taylor Swift’s peach silk organza gown and Sarah Jessica Parker’s now iconic black and white Duchesse satin and velvet gown with de la Renta’s signature on the train … in red! There are just a few of his early designs on display from the 1960s and a smattering of day wear. Most of the exhibit is made up of evening dresses from the 1990s on. The collection of 130 pieces is arranged by what inspired the designer over the years, such as his beloved garden. (He was an avid gardener.)

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Evening ensemble coat & pants. Silk taffeta and silk embroidery. 2000.

Among my favorites were in the Eastern Influence gallery. A more casual yet still elegant collection, I liked the fabrics, rich colors, and retro feel to the designs.

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Evening dress. Black silk velvet with white silk embroidery. Photo courtesy of FAMSF.

Mr. de la Renta favored luxurious fabrics – silk and satin, brocade, velvet, and tulle. He embellished with feathers, beading or jewels and a touch of mink or fox fur can be found on coat collars, cuffs, and even on the bottom of a pair of evening pants. It is said of him that he lived to make women feel beautiful.

Walking through this exhibit, the focus is on the clothing. Aside from a couple of video loops – one is of the designer’s expansive garden in Kent and the other is footage of celebrities on various red carpets – there is little technology and few additions besides the occasional decorative piece or chair borrowed from the museum’s collection. But actually, no enhancement is needed and the lack of distraction is a welcome change. Muted lighting and quiet surroundings make for a peaceful, reflective experience.

Oscar de la Renta: A Retrospective is on now through May 30th, 2016, at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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