I’ve travelled far and wide to see exhibitions of fashion in the museum, including cities like London, Paris, Rome, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. This summer, Toronto, which is the fourth largest city in North America and within easy travel distance from cities like New York and Chicago, has several very exciting exhibitions of fashion on display.
The Royal Ontario Museum is home to one of the world’s largest costume and textile collections, with over 50,000 artifacts. In June, the ROM was the host for a display of Viktor&Rolf dolls in the Thorsell Spirit Gallery. As well, the ROM has an ongoing exhibit called BIG in the Patricia Harris Costume & Textile Gallery on the fourth floor. This playful exploration of the concept of big, features about 40 items from the archive, and each item is a riff on the word “BIG”, either big in historical importance, big in cost, big in size, etcetera. BIG will be on display until October 2013. My review of the exhibit for Fashion is my Muse can be read here.
Toronto is also home to the Bata Shoe Museum, which holds one of the world’s largest private collection of shoes. Earlier this year, I featured a behind-the-scenes interview with Senior Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack as part of this column in which Elizabeth talked about this summer’s exhibit Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture. This paradigm busing exhibition is drawing a broader audience including young males who might not otherwise step foot into a museum, let alone a fashion exhibit. Although this is the target audience, the exhibition draws on extensive research and thus is also appealing to fashion scholars. Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture will run until March 30, 2014. My exhibition review for Modeconnect can be read here.
Another venue for the occasional fashion exhibition is the Design Exchange. Housed in what used to be the former stock exchange and dedicated to excellence in design, this beautiful space is the venue for the travelling exhibition Christian Louboutin. Originally curated by Donna Loveday from the Museum of London, Toronto is the first stop in North America. A spectacle of seduction in the form of shoes, this exhibit is immersive and theatrical – a full sensory experience. My exhibition review for Modeconnect can be read here.
From September 25 to November 27, 2013, the Art Gallery of Ontario will exhibit David Bowie in their contemporary galleries. This show which originated at the Victoria and Albert Museum will include costumes, materials and objects courtesy of the David Bowie Archive.“This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate a living artist whose radical artfulness of identity has had an enormous influence on art, design and contemporary culture as we know it,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, Director and CEO of the AGO.
Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario
Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario
Design Exchange, 234 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario
Royal Ontario Museum, 1 Queen’s Park Circle, Toronto, Ontario