Domestic Affairs: Fall Forecast


It’s midsummer and the heat is just building in California, but as well as “last chance to see” emails I’m already getting announcements for the upcoming fall and winter exhibitions. But first, I’m happy to share with you some exhibition announcements and tips that other Worn Through readers have shared with me since my last post.

I heard from Laura, in Mexico, who told me about not only about the wonderful National History Museum (in Mexico City) but also about their current dress exhibition, Threads of History: Apparel Collection of the National Museum of History (Hilos de Historia: La colección de indumentaria del MNH). The English-language link tells me this exhibition is designed to showcase the museum’s apparel collection which was started 114 years ago by a donation of “four splendid vice-royal dresses by Isabel Pesado de Mier.” Featuring 180 pieces by such couturiers as Frederick Worth, Coco Chanel, and Queen Victoria’s personal shoemaker, as well as pieces important to Mexican culture and history, or that highlight how fashions of the 1960s and other eras were worn and interpreted in Mexico. Check out the website for exhibition preview images and more information, or if you will be in Mexico City, the exhibition will be open until July 31, 2015!

In Chicago, Petra reminded me that Chicago Styled: Fashioning the Magnificent Mile at the Chicago History Museum is entering its final weeks! This exhibition features 26 ensembles from the museum’s collection that explore and represent the evolution of ” North Michigan Avenue into one of the most recognizable and renowned destinations for upscale retail.” I talked about this exhibition  in November, but it will be closing August 16, so if you can, go now (then tell me all about it so I can live vicariously through you)!

As for those I’ve found on my own, on the east coast, the Library Company of Philadelphia‘s Fashioning Philadelphia: The Style of the City, 1720 – 1940 opens next week. However, there is a special opening reception and preview tomorrow, July 16, 2015. The exhibition itself opens on July 20 and will be on display until March 4, 2016. This exhibition explores the history of fashion and manufacturing in America’s first truly cosmopolitan city.

In New York city, the Museum at FIT‘s Global Fashion Capitals is still on display, and will be until November 14. However, if you’re looking to the autumnal exhibitions, Fashioning Underground: The World of Suzanne Bartsch will up September 18 – December 5, overlapping with Denim: Fashion’s Frontier opening November 24.

At the Met, with China: Through the Looking Glass closing in September, they are already preparing for their fall exhibition, Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style which will open November 19.

At the Phoenix Art Museum, their exhibition, Pattern Play: The Contemporary Designs of Jacqueline Groag will be closing August 9. This means that if you want to see the beautiful work of this wonderfully playful designer, you’d better plan to head their soon.

Here in California we have several new exhibitions to look forward to. At the FIDM Museum in Los Angeles, there are two exhibitions opening July 21 at the main campus downtown: The 9th Annual Art of Outstanding Television Costume Design which will be up until September, and Fleurs: Botanicals in Dress From the Helen Larson Historical Fashion Collection which will be on display until December. At their Orange County campus, opening August 24, Hooped: Dress of the 1860s, another Helen Larson Historical Fashion Collection exhibition will be on view by appointment.

Also in Los Angeles, at the Getty Museum a wonderful exhibition combining dress and art history will be opening on October 6: Art of the Fold: Drawings of Drapery and Costume will feature drawings from the museum’s permanent collection that explore “how artists regularly employed drapery studies as part of the representation of the human figure.” I very much hope that I can make my way down to Los Angeles soon for these exhibitions, and LACMA’s African Textiles and Adornment, which I mentioned in my last column. So while this summer has been a bit bereft of exhibition reviews, I am very much hoping this coming fall and winter will be full of them!

Last, but for me most definitely not least, I am very, very excited for the upcoming Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Nā Hulu Ali’i which will open at the de Young Museum on August 29. Hawaiian art, history, and culture are a private passion of mine (something about not writing academically about something in your field makes it feel almost like a mental vacation), so I am very excited to see “approximately 75 rare and stunning examples of the finest featherwork capes and cloaks in existence, as well as royal staffs of feathers (kāhili), feather lei (lei hulu manu), helmets (mahiole), feathered god images (akua hulu manu), and related eighteenth- and nineteenth-century paintings and works on paper…” many of which have never been seen outside of Hawai’i. Expect a review here in early September. I may go see this one several times before it closes on February 28, 2016.

There are so many wonderful museums and collections in North America, I cannot possibly find all the exhibitions and events available within the dress and textile arts. If you have one in your area, or know of one that you think would be of interest to Worn Through readers, please leave a comment below, or feel free to email me the details. Also, if you have been to any of the exhibitions mentioned, please be free to share your thoughts and impressions with us as well!

Opening image credit: Mahiole (feathered helmet), possibly late 18th – early 19th century. Yellow mamo (Drepanis pacifica) feathers, red ‘i’iwi (Vestiaria coccinea) feathers, black and yellow ‘ō’ō (Moho nobilis) feathers, ‘ie’ie (Freycinetia arborea) aerial roots, and olonā (Touchardia latifolia) fiber. Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Ethnology collection. Image via FAMSF exhibition preview.

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  • Barbara Troeller July 15, 2015 01.10 pm


    Thank you for posting about the DeYoung exhibition. Feathers and plumage are my #2 passion (hats and millinery of course are #1). I plan on making a visit North in the Fall and will definitely take in the Hawaiian Featherwork. I have not had the chance to see much of this type of work in person. I can’t wait! Barbara

  • Brenna July 28, 2015 05.05 pm

    You are most welcome, Barbara! I am very excited myself. I keep hoping some day there will be an exhibition dedicated exclusively to hats… I’ll be doing a review of the Hawaiian featherwork in September, to whet your appetite as it were, as I have plans to see the exhibition the second week of September!


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