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Posts Tagged ‘fashion exhibits’

Installation of Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy at the Legion of Honor Museum. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

A fashion exhibit has recently opened at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy features the designs of Chinese couturier Guo Pei.

1002 Nights, 2010. Left Dress: hand-painted silk, embroidered with silk threads, embellished with Swarovski crystals, Headpiece: resin, silk tassels and Swarovski crystals. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Known for unique sculptural silhouettes and elaborate embroidery, Ms. Pei has been designing couture for four decades. She finds inspiration everywhere – from nature, history, and various cultures around the world – to create unexpected looks.

Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

From curator Jill D’Alessandro: This global worldview manifests itself in her designs, which draw equally from Asian and European aesthetics to occupy a space between fashion, theater, performance, and sculpture.

In 2016 Ms. Pei was the second designer born and educated in China to be inducted as a guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the Paris based organization that determines what design houses should be considered true couture.

Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy features 80 designs from Ms. Pei’s 2007 through 2020 collections shown on Beijing and Paris runways. The exhibit is cleverly presented with pieces displayed around some of the museum’s permanent decorative arts collections as well as in independent galleries.

This is Ms. Pei’s first major museum exhibit and it runs now through September 5, 2022 at the Legion of Honor.

NOTE: Please be aware that the Legion of Honor (and the de Young Museum) no longer require masks for entry.

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I always enjoy the exhibits at Lacis Museum for the subject matter, but also their unique presentation – charming in its simplicity. Worn to Dance: 1920s Fashion and Beading opened in November 2019 and I was looking forward to seeing it and then … Covid, lockdown, variants. I nearly missed it and that would have been a shame. Don’t let that happen to you! The clock is ticking – Worn to Dance closes March 12.

Lacis Museum is located on the second floor next door to the retail shop at 2982 Adeline St. in Berkeley. Docent Julie Ann ushered us up the stairs to be greeted at the top with two elegantly clad mannequins ready and waiting for us to travel back in time. With jazz tunes playing in the background, we toured the main gallery filled with original 1920s beaded dresses, gowns, handbags, coats, hats, jewelry, even wedding dresses. Each item comes from the Lacis extensive collection. Arranged by type of clothing, every section includes posted images and pictures from magazines and sheet music. What I really appreciate is that there’s plenty of room to get a close-up look at the extraordinary workmanship (every bead is sew on by hand). But no touching!

You’ll notice that most beaded dresses are sheer and require a slip underneath. A handy way to slightly change the look of the dress is to change the slip, perhaps a contrasting color.

Julie Ann led us around the exhibit and offered interesting facts, such as, women of the era could purchase from catalogues or department stores “panels” – precut fully beaded fabric ready to be sewn. That was a less expensive option for middle class women. (See image below.)

Some women beaded their own dresses and there were beaded handbag kits for the crafty types. (See image below.)

One thinks of beaded gowns for evening wear but beading was popular for day dresses, too. Beads for evening would be cut or faceted to reflect light, whereas day dress beads would be uncut.

This day dress is perfect for a summertime garden party.

I’m so pleased I didn’t miss Worn to Dance and I encourage local ODFL readers to make their way over to Lacis before we say goodbye to this wonderful exhibit. It’s a must for anyone interested in fashion history, the Art Deco period (that’s you, ADSC members), and lovers of beading and textiles. Admission is $3 and that includes a docent led tour. And then spend time in the Lacis shop where one can find all kinds of vintage and antique goodies, books on fashion and textiles, sewing notions, ribbon, cards, silk flowers, and much more.

Worn to Dance: 1920s Fashion and Beading on now through March 12th, 2022. Call Lacis to make a reservation 510-843-7290.

Side note: Also on at Lacis is The Bird in Textile Arts: The Extraordinary in Thread. Now through July 9, 2022.

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Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

On now at the de Young Museum in San Francisco is the West Coast premiere of Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love, a celebration of Mr. Kelly and his inspired fashions of the 1980s.

Black fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) was known for combining whimsy with classic. His unique use of embellishment as well as a constant upbeat message in his designs attracted many. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to NYC to study fashion design and in 1979 he moved to Paris. There he had friends bop around the streets in his handmade jersey outfits adorned with buttons. These colorful ensembles caught the attention of French Elle magazine and voila, he was on his way to fashion stardom.

Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

I was not familiar with Mr. Kelly before hearing of this exhibit but I’m happy to have found him and now he is among my favorites. I appreciate his humor and references to fashion history; I see a touch of Schiparelli here and a pinch of Chanel there, but with a unique Kelly twist. There is something very charming about these designs – they are playful, fun, and yet still polished. He was a master at playing with sophisticated silhouettes by adding unexpected adornments like buttons, tassels, and dice. His use of buttons was inspired by his grandmother who, when he was a child, used to replace his lost buttons with whatever style and color she had on hand. That “outside the box” approach stuck with Mr. Kelly.

Runway of Love, curated by Laura L. Camerlengo, Associate Curator of Costume and Textile Arts at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, is divided into four sections covering Mr. Kelly’s career from hand making knit jersey dresses in his early Paris days to his successful runway shows. One of the sections includes some of his personal collection of racist memorabilia, which served as inspiration for him in his designs. Although controversial in America at that time, his use of racist symbols was his way of controlling the charged images and that puts another interesting twist on his work.

In 1988 Mr. Kelly was the first American and first Black designer to be voted into the Chambre Syndicale du Pret-a-Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs de Mode, the prestigious French association for ready-to-wear designers. This was quite an honor and well deserved!

Patrick Kelly’s archive of fashions was given to the Philadelphia Museum of Art by Mr. Kelly’s business and life partner, Bjorn Amelan, who said that he spent years after Mr. Kelly’s early death of complications from AIDS in 1990, looking for the right home for the archive.

As well as 80 fully accessorized ensembles, the exhibit includes several videos of runway shows, sketches and art by the designer, and other ephemera.

From the 80s music in the background to the upbeat videos, from the buttons to the bright colors to the cultural references – I walked out of Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love uplifted and inspired. I can’t recommend this exhibit enough.

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love at the de Young Museum now through April 24, 2022.

A few things to know before you go:

  1. Pack a mask! Masks are required on everyone, regardless of vaccination status.
  2. The Coat Room is closed; travel light and remember that backpacks must be hand held inside the museum.
  3. To allow for plenty of safe space in the galleries the tickets are timed, so it’s a good idea to book ahead.

And there’s more! Continue to explore Patrick Kelly with a series of panel discussions Wednesdays at 5pm: October 27th, November 3rd, March 30, April 23. Click here for the full scoop.

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Sandy Schreier is known for her collection of couture fashion that numbers over 15,000 items. The story goes that when she was a child growing up in Detroit her father worked in the fur department of a high end department store. Often he took his daughter to work where she made friends with the lady customers. Before long these wealthy ladies were gifting some of their used couture gowns and everyday wear to Ms. Schreier to play dress up. Well, even then she knew she was on to something and didn’t play with the clothing but instead kept it all safe, eventually storing everything she was given a spare room of the family home.

She continued collecting, later putting an ad in the paper looking for donations. Her collection is just that, a collection not a wardrobe. She says she considers the pieces like artwork and has never worn them.

Her collection includes pieces by Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Adrian … all the biggies past and present.

In 2019 Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection at The Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute displayed 80 of the 165 pieces, which Ms. Schreier has promised to donate to the institute.

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Designs by Patrick Kelly, part of Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love at the de Young Museum, SF. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Save the date!! Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love opens at the de Young Museum on October 23, 2021 and runs though April 24, 2022.

Black fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) was known for combining whimsy with classic. His unique use of embellishment as well as a constant upbeat message in his designs attracted many. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to NYC to study fashion design and in 1979 he moved to Paris. There he had friends bop around the streets in his handmade jersey outfits adorned with buttons. These colorful ensembles caught the attention of Elle magazine and voila, he was on his way to fashion stardom.

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love was organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and includes 80 fully accessorized designs organized into sections that highlight the inspiration behind the designer’s work.

I can’t wait! How about you?

Check out the website and plan your visit. Note: Masks are required.

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Image curtesy of Shadelands Ranch Museum.

ODFL locals, are you looking for a summer excursion? Want to stay close to home? The Shadelands Ranch Museum in Walnut Creek has just the thing – Summer Market & Barn Sale on Sunday, August 15, 9-4. It’s an outside market selling handcrafted items, and vintage and antique treasures. There will also be food and informational vendors. As a fundraiser, the museum will sell donated vintage/antique items. The house will be open for tours – one of the last opportunities to view the Fashions Through the Years exhibit.

Grab your best summer hat and stop by the Shadelands Ranch Museum, 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek.

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Last week I dressed in some of my vintage favorites and headed over to Shadelands Ranch Museum in Walnut Creek to see their current exhibit: Fashion Through the Years.

Graduation dress.

Shadelands Ranch Museum is the Colonial Revival house built by Hiram Penniman in 1903 and now it’s home to the Walnut Creek Historical Society. The “ranch” was actually a fruit and nut farm owned and run by Mr. Penniman who had previously lived in Oakland with his wife and children. The story goes that to entice his wife, Carrie, to move to the boonies known as Walnut Creek, he built this grand two-story house. This is just the beginning of the Penniman/Shadelands story, but visitors can take the house tour and hear the whole tale from knowledgeable docents.

Edwardian day dress.

During the pandemic, the museum was closed but staff took advantage of the quiet time by going through all the stuff the museum had accumulated over the years, including donations of clothing. It soon became obvious that an exhibit of these frocks was in order.

On now through August 31, 2021 Fashion Through the Years displays in every room of the house fashions from the Victorian era to the 1980s as well as accessories such as handbags, gloves, and jewelry; all of it donated to the museum by generous local residents. The displays are such that we can get up close to study the fabrics and construction, although of course no touching!

Cotton ensemble with lace detail.

Among my favorites is an Edwardian day dress, a white cotton ensemble with lace detailing, and a lovely graduation dress from the early 1900s. There is much to see in the exhibit and more to learn about Shadelands Ranch Museum. I highly recommend this to ODFL locals looking for a summer excursion close to home. (Masks are required.)

Shadelands Ranch Museum is located at 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek and is open Wednesdays and Sundays, 1-4; sometimes they’re closed for special events. Check the website.

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When we think of American style, we think of among other things, jeans. More specifically we think Levi’s Jeans. But have we ever considered the story behind the iconic brand? It’s an interesting one and locals in the Bay Area have a unique opportunity to learn about Levi Strauss the man and his jeans.

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Levi Strauss never wore jeans himself because in his day jeans were for manual labor workers and he was a businessman.

On now at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco is Levi Strauss: A History of American Style. Featuring over 250 items from the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives, this exhibit sets out to tell the story of German immigrant Levi Strauss and how he went from a dry goods merchant to THE man behind our beloved blue jeans.

Born in 1829 in Bavaria, as a young man Strauss immigrated first to New York to work selling dry goods. He then moved to San Francisco during the end of the Gold Rush to expand the family business.

Meanwhile, Northern California tailor Jacob Davis was hearing from workers that their pants were not holding up to hard wear and tear. He had an idea to place rivets at key stress points on the pants. He had the idea, but not the funds to push it forward. In comes Strauss and the two men worked together on a patent. That was the start of a business venture that is still impacting fashion today.

 

Included in this extensive exhibit are photos of Strauss’ hometown in Germany, decades of Levi’s Jeans advertisements, Hollywood film clips showcasing Levi’s, a 1974 Gremlin car with Levi’s interior upholstery, and many original Levi’s garments from early overalls to a leather jacket worn by Albert Einstein to an array of distinctive re-purposed Levi’s Jeans. It’s the largest public display of the company’s archival items ever gathered and it’s exclusive to the CJM.

One thing that struck me about the Levi’s story, something I had not thought about, is the evolution of jeans. Strauss was clever at expanding the desire of his product for the working man –  to the cowboy, to the teenager, and eventually to women in 1918 with “Freedom-Alls” and in 1934 with the first jeans line for women called “Lady Levi’s.” Beyond that, over the decades jeans became statement pieces for rebels, hippies, and rock stars proving that Levi’s Jeans have something for everyone.

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Strauss and Davis were granted their US patent in 1873.

In addition to the fashion story, Levi Strauss: A History of American Style is a local Jewish story. Lori Starr, Executive Director of the CJM says, “The exhibition will contextualize the Jewish experience for twenty-first-century audiences, offering insight into the history of San Francisco and its Jewish population, the story of an iconic element of American style, and the inventive spirit behind it all.”

Levi Strauss: A History of American Style is on now through August 9, 2020 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission Street at 3rd St. in San Francisco. 

Don’t miss this rare opportunity.

 

 

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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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