Thank you to FP for the nice post!
Check it out here.
Thank you to FP for the nice post!
Check it out here.
The Museum at FIT recently presented A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk. The pioneering exhibition explored the contributions and influence that the lesbian-gay-bisexual–transgender community has had on fashion history.
The two day symposium featured presentations from scholars, fashion designers, artists and collectors. If you missed the symposium, a short video of each presentation has been linked to the Queer Fashion History website. The videos can be accessed under the Symposium tab.
The original thirty minute presentations have been expertly edited, distilling the talks into five minute clips. These concise summaries quickly provide the key points of each presentation.
Edited by Valerie Steele, the exhibition catalog is the perfect supplement to the videos, providing an in-depth examination of many of the topics presented.
Check out the Video tab on the Queer Fashion History website for additional Queer History related videos. Don’t miss the interview with curators Fred Dennis and Valerie Steele at the bottom of the page.
The Association of Dress Historians invites proposals for papers for its summer conference entitled The Legality of Dress: Historical and Modern Approaches to the Control of Clothing and Textile Production, held July 12, 2014 in London, England. Contributions from a historical or contemporary perspective from anthropologists, legal practitioners, historians, art & dress historians, military historians, curators, designers, makers and manufacturers will be welcome. It is hoped that an interdisciplinary, trans-historical approach will enrich discussion, provide insights and contribute to the evolution of the discipline of Dress History. Papers, to be illustrated with a Powerpoint presentation, should be twenty minutes in length.
Deadline for abstracts: February 28, 2014
Abstract length: appx. 300 words
Submissions should be sent to email@example.com.
For further information see the events/conference webpage at: www.dresshistorians.co.uk
A few weeks ago, I happened upon a “fashion story” that coupled high fashion with folk dress to examine the future of Ukraine and its cultural heritage. In an article called “Fashion Dissidence,” 032c Magazine published fashion designer Anton Belinskiy’s inspiration from the country’s anti-Yanukovych protests in November 2013. Seeing a prime opportunity to use his creative powers to make a statement, Belinskiy connected with a photographer and a model on Facebook–aged 16 and 15, respectively–and they created a “fashion story.” Using traditional clothing interspersed with the collection he had shown days before at Mercedes Benz Kiev Fashion Days, Belinskiy and his photographer Alexandra Trishina and model Nastya Petryshina showed their allegiance to their Ukrainian heritage while expressing dissent and dissatisfaction.
But you may have been following the protests in Kiev since November, and may know that the violence and discord in Maidan (Independence Square) have escalated significantly in the last week, with huge fires and close to thirty people killed. The many paragraphs I wrote may find their space in a later post, but for the time being don’t feel appropriate. That is a discussion in itself, that I am reticent to bring fashion and dress into the conversation about civil rights, governance, and the right to free speech: am I codifying the idea of clothing and fashion as superficial?
I do want to share the photographs that caught my eye and inspired me weeks ago to write about the different interactions fashion has with protest and civil unrest:
As Belinskiy noted to 032c Magazine,
“Around us there were students covered in blood, protesters, journalists. At first they could not understand what we were doing, and some were even a bit aggressive, but then after understanding what it was they strongly supported us.”
Find more of Trishina’s photographs here. Are they moving? predictable? provoking?
If you’d like to read more about dress and protest today, here on Worn Through we have generally covered “protest fashion” by looking at how protestors present themselves while participating in social uprisings, statements, and sit-ins. Our contributors have written thoughtful and insightful posts, such as Tove Hermansson’s work on secondhand clothing as protest, subversive knitting,Yippies and political fashions, and more. Brenna’s Bits and Bytes column touched on the use of hoodies after Trayvon Martin’s death and Lisa and Monica collaborated on a field report for Anarchists of Style: Occupy Wall Street.
Can fashion or the use of clothing as art be considered a constructive, meaningful reaction to political upheaval? Leave your respectful comments below.
We’ve written about Anita Berber before here on Worn Through, the “priestess of depravity,” dancer, actress and muse to many during her years in Weimar Berlin. The contemporary images of Berber speak volumes, and viewing the highly-sexualized, sometimes fetishist styling she has inspired in today’s designer’s and photographers demonstrates her lasting ability to shock her audience through art. In this post on Anarchist Muses, we present Anita Berber as a representative of the overt (and ambiguous) sexuality adopted and celebrated in modern fashion.
Images contain nudity.
By Otto Dix, 1925 Cate Blanchett for AnOther, F/W 2013
By Madame D’Ora, 1922 Vogue Germany, February 2014
By Madame D’Ora, 1921 Zac Posen RTW Autumn 2008
Berber and Sebastian Droste, 1922 Vogue Germany, October 2009
Berber with her monocle Pam Hogg F/W 2013
When I worked for the FIDM Museum last autumn, it honestly felt like I was getting up to go hang out with my friends rather than “real work” (though it was a lot of that, too). So I was rather pleased to be invited to the opening for their latest exhibitions, the 22nd Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design, and BLISS, displaying 19th-Century wedding dresses and other objects from the Helen Larson collection. The opening was covered by several Los Angeles publications, such as The Hollywood Reporter, and was — as you can see in the image above — a very popular event. With the Academy Awards approaching, the V&A Hollywood exhibition moving on from Virginia this month, and Jill’s wonderful post about the Cosprop costume exhibition in Texas, it is not really surprising that the FIDM Museum’s exhibition has attracted such attention. What is so amazing about the exhibition is the way in which they manage to gather all of these costumes together, and still wow their audiences year after year.
I saw my first Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition at FIDM in 2011, where my own research into Kashmir shawls made the Jane Eyre display particularly interesting for me, as I was able to see how they imitated the imitations for the film. I was also attending on a Saturday in the midst of a CSA event, so it was not nearly so crowded as this attendance. I also now know, from having worked with the museum staff and the exhibition curator and Museum Coordinator, Michael Black, how much work goes into this show. Studios and production teams don’t always keep track of where their costumes go after the film wraps, so the finding and displaying of all of the costumes is nothing short of a miracle that Mike manages to reproduce every year. This year was particularly difficult, especially with some costumes which were borrowed from overseas being held by customs until just a couple days before the opening on 8 February.Pacific Rim
What struck me most about this year’s show was the sheer variety of costume design on display — a variety not always seen in the Academy Award nominations, I might point out. Starting with science fiction and fantasy costumes in the first gallery and first part of the second gallery, the exhibition showed select costumes from Ender’s Game, Pacific Rim, Oblivion, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Man of Steel, Thor: The Dark World, and Oz, The Great and Powerful, among others. Contrary to expectations with The Hunger Games, it was not the gloriously ridiculous outfits worn by citizens of the Capital that were on display, but those garments that had to have fabric specially designed and created for the pieces, such as Jena Malone’s ‘tree’ costume for her role as Johanna Mason. This was a theme that Michael Black emphasized throughout the exhibition — but which really stood out among the sci-fi and fantasy costumes — a “focus on unique fabrics that are often made from scratch to specifically fulfill the look needed for each character”.American Hustle The Butler The Great Gatsby
The remaining costumes ranged from historic — Renaissance for Romeo & Juliet, 19th-century for The Invisible Woman, Anna Karenina, and 12 Years a Slave, to early 20th-century for The Great Gatsby, The Grandmaster, and 42 – to orientalist fantasy for 47 Ronin. The latter was an interesting fusion of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean traditional dress with the sort of costumes I used to see when I read manga as a teenager. There was also the work of at least three FIDM graduates, a wonderful way for current students to see the work of various alumni. There are also six displays by designers nominated for the 2014 Academy Award for costume design.
When I attended that first Motion Picture Costume exhibition three years ago, I was actually disappointed by the costumes. Many that had looked absolutely luscious on screen were, in person, a bit dull. For example, the above mentioned imitation of a Kashmir shawl was obviously stamped cotton (not a surprise, considering budget restrictions, but there are historic imitations that used stamping and looked more accurate than this modern one did). Or the costumes from Madonna’s W.E.: the black suit with white appliqué trim for Andrea Riseborough as Wallis Simpson had none of the appeal or glamour it did on screen (I would like the two hours of my life I spent watching that particular film back, but that’s another story). This year, I was absolutely astounded by the detail.Oz, The Great and Powerful The Great Gatsby (Daisy) 47 Ronin The Grandmaster
And it was not just the beautiful embroidery, beading and appliqué that was so impressive. It was the attention to detail: the simple elegance of a dress worn by Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby emphasized her character and her place as Daisy’s foil (I asked assistant registrar, Ilana Winter, if I could have that dress, she said no). Then there was a man’s tie on one of the costumes from Saving Mr. Banks which captured the era in a single accessory that is hard to explain. Even more so, was the wearing and tearing done to the costumes of 42 that made them look like they really had been worn in a baseball game. Or the delicate contrast that you had to look for to see between Michael Fassbender’s and the several slave costumes from 12 Years a Slave. Such common, if not pretty, details exemplify the sort of research and attention that is necessary to not only help the actors inhabit the character, but for the audience to inhabit the story.12 Years a Slave 42 Saving Mr. Banks The Great Gatsby (Jordan)
This attention to detail was a perfect segue into the other exhibition that opened that night, BLISS: 19th-Century Wedding Gowns from the Helen Larson Collection. Showing ten or twelve gowns, the show manages to illustrate the breadth of wedding gowns and wedding paraphernalia for the era. From the Belle Epoque with its opulence, to my favourite eras, early 19th-century empire gowns and Romantic era bell-sleeves, seemingly every fashion and detail of the century could be found in this small collection of dresses, gloves, shoes, bonnets, and fans.
The tiny gallery was absolutely crowded full of visitors — as full as the main gallery — every one of them speaking in admiration of the gowns, and more than a few aghast at how tiny the corseted waists were. The inclusion of individual bonnets, gloves, shoes, and in one case a letter accepting a proposal along with gloves and an engagement ring, gave a complete picture of the material culture of upper class weddings of the time period. It is also an excellent fundraising tool: each text panel showed the amount needed to be raised by the museum to purchase this particular piece for the collection, so that visitors could pledge what they could for their favourite garments and be involved in the acquisition.
It was also a wonderful way for independent scholars and students of dress history to see a collection that has not yet been digitized. The gown below — complete with hair arrow — fits perfectly with one of my current research focuses: the use and copying of Indian fabrics as evidence of the influence of Indian aesthetics on those of Britain. The gown looks to be made of an imitation saree fabric, with its simple print and detailed border (at the hem). I sense a research trip may be in order!
I could go on and on showing pictures and discussing the excellent curation and beautiful display. I was truly excited about getting to see my friends at FIDM, and seeing the exhibition, but I was completely unprepared for this year’s exhibition and the way little details still keep sneaking up on me. The array of costumes, well-displayed, and the exquisite nature of all the pieces from BLISS was in keeping with FIDM’s standards, but still incredible to see in person. As Michael Black says in his introduction to the film costumes exhibition, the displays really do cause visitors to “think about the fact that costume designers are often on the cutting-edge of researching new fabrics and techniques of creating and manipulating them to present the costumes you see on the screen”. Juxtaposed with the historic techniques, and couture craftsmanship seen in the wedding gowns in BLISS, I feel the two exhibition compliment each other.
The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition will be on display until 26 April, and BLISS will be up until 5 July.
Please share your comments below. And remember, if you are in North America and have any exhibitions or events happening in your area that you would like featured, just email me the details!
My book Punk Style was recently reviewed on Roseanne Cheng’s website which looks at Lit for youth. She has experience as a high school english teacher and author, and so she found some new ways to look at the material and points out how it can relate to high schoolers.
Thank you Roseanne!
The 22nd Olympic Games are well underway in Sochi, and in the spirit of the event, Worn Through would like to dedicate this week’s You Should Be Reading column to three articles that explore the relationship between fashion and sports. Recent scholarship on this topic has gone beyond the study of athletic wear to extend to the effects dress and appearance have on athletes of all types. These effects touch on topics like gender, race, and nationalism, to name a few. Given the wide reach of sports in today’s society, the role of fashion in these relationships is of particular interest. The three articles below, published within the past year, feature some of the most thought-provoking research on this topic. We hope you enjoy.
1. Biddle-Perry, G. (2014). Sporting hats and national symbolism: The Kangol beret and the London Olympic Games of 1948. Clothing Cultures, 1(2), 111-126.
This article explores the British Olympic Association’s adoption of the Kangol beret for both male and female athletes at the London Games of 1948. The Games represented a critical juncture in both Olympic and British political history. The article outlines the fashion historical development of the ‘Anglo-Basque’ beret as a context for examining how the beret came to function as the symbolic embodiment of shifting concepts of British sporting nationalism within the Olympic arena. In World War II the beret became synonymous with Lord Montgomery of Alamein (Monty), and by extension the fighting spirit of the British nation. The article questions to what extent the choice of the ‘Monty’ beret in London in 1948 can be seen as both a response to the Berlin Olympics in 1936 and the wider contemporary context of a nation at the crossroads between austerity and affluence, and new demands for wider democratic freedom and welfare reform. — Full Article Abstract
2. Lorenz, S. L., & Murray, R. (2014). “Goodbye to the gangstas”: The NBA dress code, Ray Emery, and the policing of blackness in basketball and hockey. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 38(1), 23-50.
This article assesses cultural representations of Blackness in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) in relation to contemporary forms of racism in North American society. In particular, this case study examines media narratives surrounding the adoption of the NBA dress code and the behavior of NHL goaltender Ray Emery during the 2005 to 2006 basketball and hockey seasons. Despite significant differences in the racial composition of the two leagues, the NBA and the NHL made similar efforts to discipline, police, and contain the young Black males under their control. Racialized constructions of Black athletes as menacing, criminal, and dangerously different were prominent in media coverage of both sports. An exploration of these sporting controversies offers a transnational and comparative framework for understanding racial discourses in the United States and Canada today. — Full Article Abstract
3. Weber, J. D., & Carini, R. M. (2013). Where are the female athletes in Sports Illustrated? A content analysis of covers (2000-2011). International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 48(2), 196-203.
The authors content analyzed more than 11 years of Sports Illustrated (SI) covers (2000–2011) to assess how often females were portrayed, the sports represented, and the manner of their portrayal. Despite females’ increased participation in sport since the enactment of Title IX and calls for greater media coverage of female athletes, women appeared on just 4.9 percent of covers. The percentage of covers did not change significantly over the span and were comparable to levels reported for the 1980s by other researchers. Indeed, women were depicted on a higher percentage of covers from 1954–1965 than from 2000–2011. Beyond the limited number of covers, women’s participation in sport was often minimized by sharing covers with male counterparts, featuring anonymous women not related directly to sports participation, sexually objectifying female athletes, and promoting women in more socially acceptable gender-neutral or feminine sports. — Paraphrased Article Abstract
Image Credit: stellafluorescent.blogspot.com
Today, we have two CFPs to share with you! Note the quickly approaching due dates for submissions.
First up: Dressing for the Occasion. This fall, the Costume Society of America’s Midwest Region will be hosting its annual symposium September 26-27 in Minneapolis-Saint Paul; this year’s theme is “Dressing for the Occasion.” Worn Through editor, Monica Sklar, will be in attendance – be sure to say hello!
“Occasion” is a particular time, especially when something happens that involves thinking about how to dress–such as seasonal changes and special events. Come to the CSA Regional meeting, September 26 and 27, 2014, in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Minnesota to learn about “Dressing for the Occasion.”
Autumn is a spectacular season in Minnesota—along the majestic Mississippi River leaves begin turning vibrant color, squirrels make ready for the coming winter, and CSA members will enjoy the opportunity to tour costume collections, the many theaters and the enticing extras that make Minneapolis-Saint Paul such a vibrant community. Did you know that Minneapolis is home to the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture, the Mall of America, Target Headquarters, the American Craft Council—and that many artists actively design and live in warehouse lofts in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul?
Special conference tours will include the Goldstein Museum of Design’s Historic Costume Collection, the Guthrie Costume Shop, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Textile Center, and the Minnesota History Center. During your visit, attend one of the many repertoire theaters, including the famous Guthrie Theater or MN History Theater.
Deadline for Abstracts: March 1, 2014.
Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstracts of 250 words; send cover page separately with presenter and contact information and preference for presentation or poster.
Next: Luxury Retail Operations and Supply Chain Management
Philadelphia University’s Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce is pleased to sponsor the Third International Workshop on Luxury Retail Operations and Supply Chain Management to be held April 14 and 15, 2014 at Philadelphia University.
The luxury goods category is significantly outpacing other consumer goods categories. With greater emphasis placed on globalization, the challenge is to determine what consumers are seeking and what they value, when it comes to luxury.
The United States of America is the number one luxury market in the world. Philadelphia, historically known as the Workshop of the World, and home to Philadelphia University, the first school of textiles in America, is the ideal location for presenting research and discussing issues of craftsmanship, creativity and branding of the luxury artisan.
Authors are invited to present abstracts related to, but not limited to, different luxury areas such as:
Abstracts of 250-350 words.
Authors must supply a structured abstract set out under the following sub-headings:
Please provide up to 10 keywords which encapsulate the principal topics of the paper.
Deadline for abstracts: February 21, 2014
Send to LuxuryWorkshop2014@PhilaU.edu
Full papers are also welcome, not required.
*Authors with best papers will be invited to submit a full version for publication in a special issue Luxury in the International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management.
With Brenna’s recent post on Deborah Landis’s costume analysis on Turner Classic Movies, FIDM’s 22nd Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition opening February 11, and the Academy Awards broadcasting March 2, discussion and presentation of excellence in costume design for film and television is in the air.
Exhibitions solely devoted to costume and fashion don’t pass through Central Texas very often, so I was happy last month to have the chance to view an exhibition of costumes that has been making the rounds in North America over the past few years, CUT! Costume and the Cinema, at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. The exhibition showcases the artistry and inventory of London-based costume house Cosprop, which specializes in period and fantasy film. Their creations have figured prominently in Oscar wins for costume design during the last four decades, beginning with the 1985 Merchant Ivory film, A Room With a View.
Something I really value in viewing exhibitions, traveling or otherwise, is not only the enjoyment of seeing garments in person and how they are contextualized, but also how the process of absorbing the presentation and narrative allows for reflection on one’s own work and practice and the collections in one’s care.
The gallery space was a visual feast that wisely resisted becoming too overwhelming. With a particular emphasis placed on educating the audience in the examination of embroidery, lace, beading, underpinnings, period construction and the recognition of the considerable expertise involved, more than the 43 costumes on view would have been too much to take in. The text panels also encouraged visitors to consider these elements not only within the context of the film narrative and the psychology and motivations of the character, but also within the social codes of fashion of the given period.
This exhibition, though an advertisement for Cosprop in particular, helped to shine a light on behind-the-scenes craftspeople, sometimes mentioning practitioners by name, beyond the star and the designer. While many visitors seemed to focus on this, some people breezed by text labels or looked only for which actor wore the costume. The text panels introducing each section and labels placed by each costume appeared small and subtle next to the showstopping costumes, but did attempt to communicate that the costumes were not there as just eye candy or celebrity souvenirs–they challenged the audience to really look at the details.
Female costumes were presented on what appeared to be the most petite size dress form from Stockman, a company used by museums and couture clients alike. This presentation worked with costumes worn by very svelte and/or petite actresses, such as Nicole Kidman, Keria Knightley or Natalie Portman (all former or current spokespeople for couture houses). In the case of a costume worn by Maggie Smith in Gosford Park (2001), the juxtaposition of a film clip of Maggie Smith with the costume as displayed on the couture-sized mannequin highlighted the distinct difference between the costume worn by Smith in the film and the costume as presented in the gallery. With these standardized bodies, the actor and their unique embodiment of the character is sometimes denied.
Costume worn by Maggie Smith in Gosford Park (2001)
Costume Design by Jenny Beavan
Cut! Costume and the Cinema at McNay Art Museum
Photo by Jill Morena
That said, creating a particular person’s body and a certain character’s personality through a standard dress form or mannequin is difficult, time-consuming, and not always possible given various budget, staff, or time constraints. For an idea of just how challenging it is, read this article on preparing costumes, contemporary and historical, from all genres and eras for the exhibition, Hollywood Costume.
Costumes were generously spaced throughout the gallery on low platforms, or spaced closer together without platforms if from the same film, as in a series of costumes from The Duchess (2008).
Gallery of costumes from The Duchess (2008)
CUT! Costume and the Cinema at McNay Art Museum
Photo by Jill Morena
Costumes worn by Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes in The Duchess (2008)
Costume design by Michael O’Connor
CUT! Costume and the Cinema at McNay Art Museum
Photo by Jill Morena
Visitors could step forward to examine details, inches away from the costume with no barriers. Museum guards were attentive and present in each room, but I was surprised at how close I could approach the costume. And yet these garments comprise a portion of the archive of a privately owned, working costume company, not a public museum collection of period garments (although perhaps these costumes have been permanently pulled from use and circulation?). All of the costumes in CUT! are not actual 18th, 19th, or 20th century garments, but contemporary period costumes created in the late 20th and 21st centuries with fabric and stitches made more resilient than historical garments by their relatively young age. I do not mean to imply that Cosprop is not concerned about their stock, or the McNay about collections in their care, but rather that pieces from a museum collection generally could not be displayed with this kind of first-person intimacy. Additionally, the kind of scrutiny that CUT! encouraged could not be done without the ability to see the costumes close-up.
As the desire for ever more dynamic and interactive displays inevitably increases, digital components, both online and in the gallery, will likely continue to be utilized in helping to create an intimate experience of the garment. I missed out on the McNay’s app, “The Dressing Room”, while in the gallery. This is a version of virtual interaction that playfully approaches the forbidden action of wear and embodiment for costume collections intended for preservation. Hollywood Costume had a similar app, “Hollywood Photobooth”, at its originating venue at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Overall the exhibition did a pretty good job of educating the audience about the creative process of costuming, although I felt that examples illustrating the differences in the creative process could have been grouped together more coherently in a single gallery space. One text panel explained that a costume, when the budget allows, can be built from scratch, with construction, embroidering, beading, or other embellishment created by Cosprop’s staff. Or, an entire costume can be created around a period fragment, such as the intricately beaded panel at the front of a costume from The Portrait of a Lady (1996).
Costume worn by Nicole Kidman in The Portrait of a Lady (1996)
Costume design by Janet Patterson
CUT! Costume and the Cinema at McNay Art Museum
Photo by Jill Morena
Sometimes a completed, previously used costume is selected from stock by the designer, such as an ensemble from The Prestige (2006). I wondered if audiences realized these differences between each costume, as the various examples of each design decision (complete construction, partial construction, or stock rental) were spaced apart throughout the galleries, and descriptive labels for each costume were relatively small and usually placed on the wall beside or behind the costume.
Costume worn by Scarlett Johansson in The Prestige (2006)
Costume Design by Joan Bergin
CUT! Costume and the Cinema at McNay Art Museum
Photo by Jill Morena
When confronted with such stunning costumes, fantastical to 21st-century eyes and beyond the realm of current everyday wear, it is perhaps easier to convince the public that the choice of a ready-made costume is a creative act. It may be more difficult when the audience is faced with something that looks like a shirt or sweater they may have passed by yesterday at the mall or the thrift shop, folded on a shelf or hanging on a rack.
The Academy favors design for lush historical or fantasy films, like the costumes displayed in the CUT! exhibition. This emphasis is not surprising, and is, of course, deserving. And yet the complexity and attention to detail that is so celebrated in period costume can be just as evident in costume for films set in the present day. A costume does not have to be a showstopper of historical accuracy to contain evidence of the thought process and careful assemblage of a character’s ensemble. In contrast to the Academy’s monolithic category, the Costume Designer’s Guild recognizes achievement in separate categories: contemporary, period, and fantasy film.
When I prepared a costume worn by Robert De Niro from Silver Linings Playbook (2012) for viewing in the lobby in advance of last year’s Oscar ceremony, one participant asked, “Is this even a costume?” The pervasive assumption of costume design as largely historical or out-of-the-ordinary makes an seemingly ordinary outfit look like an interloper in the world of costume design.
Costume worn by Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Robert De Niro Costumes and Props
Harry Ransom Center
Photo by Pete Smith
And yet the costume above is more complex than you think. Designer Mark Bridges has talked about where he imagined Robert De Niro’s character, Pat Sr., would shop for his clothes, and then went and shopped at those stores and malls. He created a wardrobe chronicling Pat Sr.’s love for his favorite football team, the Philadelphia Eagles, by mixing vintage pieces like this 1960s/1970s cardigan with newer pieces from neighborhood shops. He and his wardrobe team also sourced older logo patches of the Eagles and sewed them on different garments, as seen on the well-worn cardigan, indicating a much-loved sweater that has been in his closet for years.
Of course the extraordinary costume is a compelling object, and such garments make for dramatic presentations in the gallery. But I often wonder if any other museum or archives (besides studio archives), collect ready-to-wear contemporary costume. Are we losing or under-representing a history of costume design through a focus, reinforced by the Oscars and exhibitions like CUT!, that centers mainly on the historical and the extraordinary?
I would love to hear from others who have contemporary, non-period or fantasy costume in their collections, or also recent ready-to-wear fashion (not high-end designer), and any thoughts on whether you think this is or is not a neglected collection area.
I’ll leave you with a few blogs to visit that focus on all aspects of costume, such as Clothes on Film and Frocktalk, and a tumblr, Costumer of Awesome, that hilariously reveals not only the creative process but also the workaday travails of wardrobe, and the frustrations of how the work he or she does can be misunderstood or underappreciated.