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Posts Tagged ‘fashion exhibits’

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Photo: Richard Aiello

When I think of Pierre Cardin I think of the sweet scented Pierre Cardin aftershave in the Space Needle bottle that sat on top of my dad’s dresser. I think of the cream ribbed sweater with a scoop neck, which I bought for myself back in the 1990s. Also what immediately comes to mind is Cardin’s 1960s space-age fashion for which he is best known. But there is so much more to know.

On now through January 5, 2020 at the Brooklyn Museum is Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion, a retrospective of this iconic designer’s work.

 

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Mod Cardin, 1960s.

Cardin was born in Italy in 1922. Two years later the family immigrated to France to escape fascism. Cardin began his career in fashion as a tailor’s apprentice. After working with Schiaparelli and Christian Dior, he opened his own house in 1950.

Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion features over 170 pieces from the Cardin archive, exploring all of Cardin’s phases from his more conventional beginnings to his other worldly creations. Included are men’s, women’s, and even children’s clothing as well as furniture, hats, and jewelry. Still photos and videos add to the viewing experience.

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An early Cardin design. Circa 1950.

 

Cardin was among the first to licence his name but he always kept control, which allowed him to make some big bucks without diluting his brand. He bought the famous Parisian restaurant Maxims’s in 1981 and still owns it today along with several other well-known properties, including the Bubble Palace. At 97, Cardin still works and maintains his fashion house showing up at the office every day.

 

Cardin was fearless in experimenting with fabrics, silhouettes, and pattern which helped him get and stay ahead of (sometimes step outside of) the fashion curve. In 1968 he used a synthetic fiber he called “Cardine” (also known as Dynel)  to create molded dresses.

There is much to see in, and learn from this exhibit. A must for any fashion history enthusiast.

On a side note – the museum restaurant, The Norm changes its menu and decor with each major exhibit. To go along with the Cardin exhibit they have recreated Maxim’s. My partner and I decided to treat ourselves. It was lovely to sit in this elegant, quiet environment and feast on delicious soup, salad, and a cocktail of course, while discussing what we just saw in the exhibit. I recommend any visitor to do the same.

If you’re in the Brooklyn area or are planning a visit soon, make sure to see Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion, on through January 5, 2020.

 

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That’s always the challenge. You have to bring it back so that a person can walk down the street and not look like she walked out of a costume epic or a time machine. It’s got to fit how people are dressing today. 

Anna Sui, American Fashion designer.

I found this quote while viewing The World of Anna Sui, a fashion exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan. She was speaking about the influence vintage fashion has on her designs.

 

 

 

“I guess I’m known for for Bohemian Fashion …” says Sui. Here are some of her vintage inspired looks included in the exhibition. She has made these designs modern by styling with layers, boots and chunky accessories. Each outfit is worn unexpectedly. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Arts and Design.

 

Originally from Detroit, Sui knew when she was four years old that she wanted to be a fashion designer. To pursue her dream, as a young adult she moved to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design. Since then Sui has developed a unique voice, inspired by everything from history to rock and roll to fairy tales. She says storytelling is important to her in every collection and accessories are key to her overall style – hats, big jewelry, belts, and handbags. The more, the bigger, the better. Color and pattern, too. Sui loves it all!

I’d say her work is busy but fascinating in that there is so much to look at in any one outfit. Of course I’m drawn to her vintage inspired pieces and I agree that vintage has to be made modern to avoid looking like a costume. I really like how Sui does it.

The World of Anna Sui is on now through February 23, 2020 at The Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, NYC. I highly recommend this exhibit to anyone in or visiting NYC.

 

 

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While at the Costume Society of America symposium in Seattle last month, as part of the symposium we had the opportunity to view the exhibit, Seattle Style: Fashion/Function before it opened.

Exhibiting at the Museum of History and Industry, Seattle Style is a collection of what best reflects sartorial choices, past and present, in this Pacific Northwest city. One might expect to see a lot of outdoor gear and we did, but also included are evening gowns, ball gowns, summer dresses, hats, coats, beaded handbags and more.

I’d say, just like in San Francisco, Chicago, and New Orleans fashion is not a priority for current Seattle residents. But that was perhaps not the case in the past and the intent of this exhibit is to feature the crossover of style and practicality. Given the climate, there’s a lot of layering, wool, and protection from rain. The exhibit draws manly from the museum’s own clothing collection, which has increased with donations from some of the city’s socialites. Also included in the exhibit are pieces on loan from local designers.

Pictured below are some of my favorites of the exhibit:

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Tired of having to cover up a interesting outfit with a drab raincoat, Clear Coated founder Miriam Rigby designed a coat that would keep her dry and show off her creative outfits.

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Blue Morpho gown. Luly Yang is a Seattle couture designer known for her elegant and nature inspired motifs for evening wear. 

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I’m a sucker for a shirtwaist! This one was designed and manufactured by Foster-Hochberg for the 1962 Seattle Worlds Fair. Sold at the fair and in stores around the city, the fabric depicts the Space Needle and other highlights of the fair. LOVE. IT.

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Salish Pattern wool blanket by Eighth Generation. Seattle based Eighth Generation makes Native American inspired blankets, which can be worn as a cape. 

Seattle Style: Fashion/Function is on now through October 14, 2019 at Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, WA. If you’re there, check it out.

 

 

 

 

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I recently had the pleasure of joining the Textile Arts Council on a private docent-led tour of Kimono Refashioned, on now through May 5, 2019 at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

The Kimono has been  a part of my world since I was a little girl. My dad owned an antique men’s Kimono in silk and my mother has a collection of colorful cotton Kimono that she dons at home. One of my first sewing projects was a Kimono style robe. The word Kimono means “a thing to wear.” That is a casual definition for such an important garment that has crossed cultural barriers from traditional Japan to modern America.

Kimono Refashioned highlights the influence Japanese Kimono – in textiles, aesthetics, and design – has had on western fashion since the late 19th century. The exhibit is two galleries with over 35 garments from the Kyoto Costume Institute.

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 Kimono made into a Victorian dress, c.1875. 

Among the displayed garments is a Kimono deconstructed and remade into a Victorian dress (are we thinking appropriation?) and later examples of how Kimono influenced western silhouettes with designs by Paul Poiret, Coco Chanel, and Madeleine Vionnet, among others. Modern designers featured include Tom Ford, Rei Kawakubo, Sarah Burton, and Christian Louboutin.

Kimono Refashioned at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum. Don’t miss it!

PS – No photo-taking allowed in the exhibit.

 

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Learn about the complex history of the Kashmir shawl at The Boteh Kashmir & Paisley exhibit on now at Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles.

IMG_20180629_183815612Featured in this unassuming display are examples of both hand and machine woven shawls popular in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. The common shawl motif we know as paisley was originally referred to as boteh, a Persian word that means bush or shrub. Shawls began to appear in the eleventh century made from the fine underbelly hairs of the Himalayan goat. Using a twill weave, each shawl was handwoven and could take up to three years to complete.

In the 1700s these shawls became prized objects  when Kashmir royalty gifted them to occupying British officials. The fashion for Kashmir (cashmere) shawls among the wealthy in Britain and Europe created a demand impossible to fulfill.

Fast forward to the early 1800s when the Jacquard loom was created allowing for mass manufacturing of fabrics with intricate designs. The fashion for shawls, available only to the wealthy, could now also be enjoyed by middle-class Victorian women, although the quality must have varied.

IMG_20180629_184353649Lacis has hung the shawls on walls each with a magnifying glass to allow for an even closer look. Some of the collection is displayed on mannequins, which gives the viewer a good idea of how they were worn and why they were so popular, particularly during the fashionable hoop-skirt era. The fullness of the skirt is a perfect means for showing off one’s expensive shawl.

As you enter the exhibit there is an Introduction Label (museum speak), offering some history and general background. Along the way there are Object Labels with descriptions and dates of each shawl and illustrations of how women sported their shawls.

I recommend this exhibit to historians, textiles enthusiasts, weavers, costumers, anyone interested in fashion! The Boteh of Kashmir and Paisley is on now through February 2, 2019. Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles, 2982 Adeline Street, Berkeley.

On a side note – the fashion history podcast Dressed: The History of Fashion recently posted an episode all about the shawl. For a detailed explanation of the history check out Cashmere With a ‘K’: The Controversial History of a Shawl.  (Not the most professional presentation, but still very informative.)

 

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1920s dress on the mannequin.

I was a little late to the party, as they say, but still just in time to catch Pina: The Philippine Cloth of Pride, Endurance, and Passion at Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles in Berkeley. Now in the final days of its run this exhibit closes May 4th, 2018 and features the wondrous pina cloth, which is made from the pineapple plant.

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Christening gown.

Pineapples were brought to the Philippines by the Spanish during the 1500s conquest. Actually it’s the leaf of the pineapple plant that provides the fiber, originally hand extracted and then knotted to form filament threads. The process continued as weavers, on hand looms, created a lightweight sheer cloth that became the “must have” fabric for all fashionable ladies of the late 19th century/early 20th century with the means to purchase the expensive clothing and home decor items such as tablecloths, napkins, and runners.

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Detail of pina cloth with embroidery,

The exquisite pina cloth, its loose weave perfect for warm humid climates, was further enhanced by hand embroidery usually in white but sometimes in color.

Pina cloth was popular among the wealthy in the Philippines (with both men and women) up until the 1980s when tastes changed and shifted over to less expensive cotton. But current designers and stylists are showing pina cloth again, attracted to the history and beauty of the fabric. The prices, however, are still high since there are very few pina producers around. To keep costs down, often pina is blended with cotton or silk.

This exhibit itself is located inside Lacis expanded space off the main store and requires one of the staff members to escort visitors. Many pieces are mounted on a black background while a few dresses and blouses are displayed on mannequins allowing for an up-close look. It’s a no-frills presentation in a simple, small space giving the attention to the fabric. There are examples of pina cloth from the late 1800s up to the 1920s. Most from a private collection.

For anyone interested in textiles and/or fashion history this is a rare opportunity to see antique and vintage pina and well worth taking a peek, but hurry … it closes May 4th. There are guided tours for two or more visitors but at specific times and a reservation is required. (Check the website.)  While you’re there, also take time for the just opened exhibit of shawls – The Fringed Shawl: Transcending Generations and Cultures.

Pina: The Philippine Cloth of Pride, Endurance, and Passion at Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles, 2982 Adeline St., Berkeley.

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Hanbok, reproduced from an 18th century painting.

Three years in the making, Couture Korea is the first major exhibition of Korean fashion in the United States and exclusive to San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum. On now through February 4, 2018 this fashion exhibit explores traditional Korean clothing from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) to the present. Included are reproductions and reinterpretations of traditional clothing as well as original modern works by top Korean designers.

The 120-piece exhibit covers three galleries starting with a look at tradition. What is Hanbok is the first gallery where we learn that hanbok is traditional clothing for men and women during the Joseon Dynasty, when modesty was the fashion of the day. For women the look was a high full skirt called a chima, paired with a longer blouse called jeogori, which would fit loose or tight. (The originators of layering.) Men sported a loose top, pants and a robe. Fabrics such as silk organza were used.

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Jin Teok’s reinterpreted  bridal robe.

Between East and West comes next and features designs by Jin Teok, including a video of a recent fashion show and a reinterpreted hwarot (bridal robe) combining  embroidered silk fabric with denim. Also in this gallery are pieces by Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld from his Korean inspired 2016 Cruise collection, which premiered in Seoul.

My favorite is the third and final gallery. From Seoul to San Francisco is all about modern Korean fashion. Featured are two trendsetting designers Im Seonoc and Jung Misun. Each woman is inspired by traditional Korean clothing but with an understanding of modern needs and desires.

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A new twist on tradition by Jung Misun.

A video interview with the two explains their different approaches. Jung Misun says that while she’s inspired by traditional silhouettes, the fabrics are too delicate and she finds that modern women want more comfort and ease. “If someone were to ask me to wear hanbok and I were to think of an uncomfortable aspect of it – it would be the fabric … Therefore I replaced the delicate fabrics of hanbok with everyday fabrics, such as knits and wool.”

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South Korean fashion designer Imseonoc.

Imseonoc is a sustainable designer dedicated to zero waste in her clothing production. She uses only neoprene (usually used for wetsuits), which creates a nice clear cut. Any leftover scraps are incorporated elsewhere in her designs. Instead of stitching she glues or uses high-pressure bonding for seams. Speaking with Imseonoc, she told me she’s created her own neoprene – something lighter and even easier to work with.

There is something completely unique about Korean style. Simple, elegant, refined and hard to capture, which makes it ultra chic. Couture Korea offers a rare opportunity to learn about traditional and modern Korean fashions and how they connect.

It’s a must-see! I also recommend an upcoming panel of fashionables on November 19th, 1-2:30. Moderated by the San Francisco Chronicle style reporter, Tony Bravo the panel will include fashion trendsetters and designers discussing what inspires them. This panel is part of K-Fashion Bash – a day of events celebrating Korean pop culture.

What fun!

Click here for more information. 

 

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