Friday, October 8, 2010

Fashioning Fashion at LACMA

Back in August, I posted about the Wizard of Bras. That experience laid a wonderful foundation for the Fashioning Fashion exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Fashioning Fashion showcases men's and women's actual clothing and accessories from 1700-1915 through four lenses: timeline, textiles, tailoring and trim. A major theme was the shifting proportion of women's figures over the two centuries. Where we use push-up bras and Spanx, they used corsets, whale bones and hoop skirts to reshape their bodies. I loved these bustles! As a girl who doesn't need any additional junk in the trunk, these were just amusing to me. The middle bustle actually folded up when the wearer sat down, providing a least a modicum of comfort, considering she had a metal frame attached to her behind!

There were some surprises from the men's camp as well: chest padding, the evolution of the three-piece suit, and some major bling on the shoe buckles were all quite remarkable.

The mannequins appeared in and around huge stylized packing crates, giving an impression that they were just discovered. And what a discovery it would be! The fabrics and garments are absolutely stunning, and I wanted to touch each one. I can't wrap my head around these clothes surviving hundreds of years in some cases, when I can't seem to drink a glass of water without leaving a stain.

And, a bonus note about the set-up - I knew the docent leading the tour, so I got some inside info - the mannequins were designed to fit the clothes, as opposed to the museum standard of fitting the clothes to the mannequin. That means that you get a real sense of the height and size of the original wearer, instead of a cookie-cutter figure sporting the clothes.

By the way, Fashioning Fashion is in the newly opened (just last week) Resnick Pavilion, with two other fantastic exhibitions. So get yourself dolled up and head over!

Click here to go to LACMA's Web site.

No comments:

Post a Comment