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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Books
    Fashion model wears gown pictured at right Right Day dress 1853 54 Gift of the Helen Larson Estate S2001 31 18A C In 2010 the FIDM Museum began a fundraising campaign to acquire the remainder of Helen Larson s private collection The Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection In addition to amazing garments and accessories the collection includes Helen Larson s personal collecting archive letters notes auction records and photographs Poring over the archive I was so excited to find hundreds of letters written between Helen and Doris spanning over 20 years tracking not only hundreds of purchases but a relationship that developed from matter of fact business transactions into a treasured friendship And yes they proved Helen purchased almost all of the garments and accessories presented in The Woman in Fashion I was the grateful recipient of the 2014 Costume Society of America Travel Research Grant which I used to support a week of research at the Fashion Museum in Bath founded by Doris Langley Moore in 1963 as The Museum of Costume Doris donated a collection of historic fashion to the city of Bath with the understanding that council members would utilize the city s recently remodeled Assembly Rooms to house a costume museum Although she was never officially the curator she continued to acquire donations for the museum into the late 1970s Letter from Doris Langley Moore to Museum of Costume staff member 15 Aug 1969 Courtesy of the Fashion Museum Bath North East Somerset Council Thanks to Fashion Museum Manager Rosemary Harden and Collections Assistant Elaine Uttley I had full access to the Museum s institutional archives and focused on letters written by and to Doris object accession cards from the original donation object and installation photographs newspaper clippings and exhibition files I found this wonderful Picture Post magazine with the cover girl wearing our 1850s gown Picture Post 21 April 1951 Cover relates to gown in FIDM Museum Collection S2001 31 18A C which is pictured above Courtesy of the Fashion Museum Bath North East Somerset Council The magazine dates to an era when people did not understand the conservation issues arising from wearing antique fashion intended for preservation The article includes a portrait of Doris cataloging items in the collection Picture Post 21 April 1951 Doris Langley Moore with Collection Courtesy of the Fashion Museum Bath North East Somerset Council I know what it s like to plan exhibitions in addition to the research involved when I curate a project I spend hours designing the space selecting mounts and arranging objects to tell a story There is usually a lot of scratch paper involved more messy handwriting than I care to admit and also doodling Doris did the same thing for her first installation at The Museum of Costume as can be seen in this notebook she kept to document the process The different mannequin groups are being arranged by theme on this page Doris Langley Moore s Notebook c 1963 Notes for first installation

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/books/ (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Boue Soeurs
    Links Support the FIDM Museum Visit the FIDM Museum Shop Boue Soeurs August 21 2009 Boué Soeurs If you re looking for a research project here s a great one for you See if you can add anything new to the existing information about the Bou é Soeurs the pair of French sisters who designed this lingerie style dress intended for a young girl Girl s dress Bou é Soeurs

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/boue-soeurs/ (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Brocade
    Paris Silk faille wool silk brocade linen lace Gift of John Kauke 82 405 2AB Made by a Paris dressmaker this purple and cream reception dress could have walked right off a fashion plate The styling and details are up to the minute a reflection of high fashion c 1876 Since the reign of Louis XIV in the late 17th century Paris had been the fashion epicenter of the Western world In 1858 when Charles Frederick Worth and business partner Otto Bobergh established Maison Worth et Bobergh at 7 Rue de la Paix this street and its environs became the heart of Paris fashion industry Maison Touin the house that created this dress was located at 3 Rue Ventadour only a few blocks away from the Rue de la Paix and well within the stylish orbit of the famous street Continue reading Reception dress c 1876 Posted by FIDM Museum Permalink Comments 0 TrackBack 0 March 20 2012 Spring flowers Spring is here Today March 20 is the first day of spring for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere Spring brings longer days warmer weather and a host of colorful blooms In celebration of spring s arrival we offer you an array of flowers from our collection Enjoy Evening boots 1850 55 Gift of Barbara Bundy 2006 37 3AB This pair of nineteenth century evening boots feature a pattern of roses and twining foliage Made of a lightly iridescent silk damask brocade accented with green leather foxing at the heel and toe these boots were almost certainly made to match an evening gown Because of their delicacy they would have been worn indoors only As was common throughout much of the 19th century these boots have undefined left and right soles Shoes with distinctly different shapes for the left and right food didn t became widespread until the late 19th century Continue reading Spring flowers Posted by FIDM Museum Permalink Comments 1 TrackBack 0 June 03 2010 Texture in fashion Color and pattern are usually the first aspects of a garment to catch the eye closely followed by silhouette But what about texture Though texture might not be the first thing we notice it plays an important role in establishing the mood of a garment Would a roughly woven cotton textile be appropriate for a glamorous evening gown Maybe but it would take a talented designer to offset the rustic outdoorsy mood of the textile and craft it into a glamorous evening ensemble A smooth and glossy silk textile would seem equally out of place on a weekend camping trip Like colors and silhouettes textures go in and out of fashion Slippery synthetic textures dominated the late 1970s while starched cottons and stiff silks were popular in 1950s fashions Do popular textile textures affect the spirit and culture of the era in which they are popular Though it s impossible to directly pinpoint this relationship it s certainly an intriguing train of thought With that in mind take a

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/brocade/ (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Callot Soeurs
    Abbey a beautiful American heiress marries an English duke exchanging a dowry of millions in stock in her father s railroad empire for one of the most prestigious titles in the British Empire and the keys to a palace The fairy tale came true for Consuelo Vanderbilt 1877 1964 who at the time she donned this creation was the 9th Duchess of Marlborough Consuelo had been the wealthiest of the American Dollar Princesses and her arranged marriage made her mistress of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire the only private palace in Great Britain Her magnificent gown a delicate confection of silk satin silk tulle and thousands of hand tinted and hand embroidered glass bugle beads is attributed to the French couture house Callot Soeurs and was likely worn as dinner attire The deep neckline would have accentuated Consuelo s famously long slim neck Although her illustrious marriage did not last this gown has been beautifully preserved a shimmering relic of the Gilded Age Consuelo Vanderbilt Duchess of Marlborough and Her Son Lord Ivor Spencer Churchill Giovanni Boldini 1906 Oil on canvas Metropolitan Museum of Art acc no 47 71 Gift of Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan 1946 www metmuseum org Helen Larson spent

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/callot-soeurs/ (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Carolina Herrera
    buying trips to Paris When at home in Caracas Venezuela Herrera designed her own clothing which was then brought to life by a skilled seamstress Herrera s ability to combine purchased garments with those she designed herself earned her multiple nominations to the International Best Dressed list along with compliments from friends and acquaintances In 1980 Herrera was interested in launching a line of textile designs but a meeting with

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/carolina-herrera/ (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Ceil Chapman
    89 388 1AB Chapman launched her eponymous label in 1940 after briefly partnering with Gloria Vanderbilt and her twin sister Thelma in a company called Her Ladyship Gowns She became a favorite of New York s theater crowd before expanding her fan base to Hollywood She created Elizabeth Taylor s trousseau when she married her first husband Nicky Hilton in 1950 and dressed starlets like Deborah Kerr Eva Gabor and Jayne Mansfield as well as Monroe A tireless self promoter Chapman appeared in magazine advertisements endorsing girdles hairspray Playtex and even Western Union telegrams She provided gowned models for a Cadillac ad campaign and loaned dresses to NBC in exchange for on air promotional credit Detail Chapman was known for her elaborately draped bodices even patenting her draping techniques She argued that while a male designer would sketch a dress and then assume that he can take his sketch and drape it around a figure and any woman can wear it a female designer isn t thinking of a drawing She is thinking of a live person wearing it 3 Chapman revived the bias cut popular in the 1930s applying it to sophisticated sexy gowns in expensive looking materials Other design signatures included dramatic décolletages beading and hips accentuated by rosettes pleats peplums and padding Many of these features can be seen in this cocktail dress and matching belt of cream colored satin machine embroidered with faux pearls This dress may come from Chapman s 1959 collection which Women s Wear Daily described as a series of after dark dresses Some of the most exquisite embroideries of crystal beads sequins and pearls are worked out in Persian like patterns with slender skirts for an elongated line 4 Detail Chapman retired in 1965 only to try to revive her label in

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/ceil-chapman/ (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Celia Birtwell
    to wear They made you feel omnipotent and feminine because they were so complimentary to the body 1 She was not alone in her feelings about Ossie Clark s designs more testaments to his work can be read here Clark s clients and fans included Liza Minelli she wore Ossie Clark in the 1972 film Cabaret Marianne Faithfull Suzy Menkes Mick Jagger and Twiggy Maxi dress Ossie Clark with print by Celia Birtwell c 1969 Gift of Honeya Barth 2008 923 1A Continue reading Ossie Clark ensemble c 1969 Posted by FIDM Museum Permalink Comments 0 TrackBack 0 October 09 2009 Fast fashion Over the last few years collaborations between clothing designers and mass market retailers have become increasingly common These fast fashion or capsule collections consist of a small group of designer items created for a specific retailer and are only available for a limited time Capsule collections allow the average consumer to purchase a designer item at significant savings while allowing mass market chains to increase their profile through targeted marketing campaigns For new or unestablished designers capsule collections help spread their name and design aesthetic while well known designers are able to bring their designs to a

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/celia-birtwell/ (2016-02-12)
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  • FIDM Museum Blog: Chanel
    2009 899 2 This ready to wear evening jacket inspired by the sand and sea appeared in Chanel s seasonal portfolio for elite clients and on the January 1991 cover of American Vogue Designer Karl Lagerfeld b 1938 took the boxy jacket outlined with contrasting braid made iconic by house founder Gabrielle Coco Chanel 1883 1971 in the 1960s and updated it for a generation of young women who preferred surfing and snorkeling to formal luncheons The sleek outline and transparent sequin covering of the Scuba jacket mimics a figure hugging wetsuit glistening in sun dappled oceans The aquatic theme continued as suntanned models carrying surfboards sashayed down the catwalk in coordinating black neoprene leggings Posted by FIDM Museum Permalink Comments 0 TrackBack 0 October 10 2012 Chanel day dress c 1937 Gabrielle Coco Chanel s 1883 1971 reputation is staked primarily on her exploration of menswear inspired suits and her promotion of the understated little black dress Though these creations are an important part of her aesthetic her designs didn t always exude a strict less is more philosophy Many of Chanel s evening wear designs particularly during the 1920s and 1930s glittered with embellishment She also designed feminine romantic day wear like the c 1937 afternoon dress pictured here Afternoon dress Gabrielle Coco Chanel c 1937 Gift of The Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising 79 25 5 Continue reading Chanel day dress c 1937 Posted by FIDM Museum Permalink Comments 2 TrackBack 0 August 14 2012 From the Archives Discovering Counterfeit Chanel No 5 in a Museum Collection For the next two weeks we ll be featuring posts from our extensive blog archives Today s post was written by Meghan Hansen FIDM Museum Registrar in 2009 In this post she dives into our fragrance archive with an investigation into a counterfeit Chanel No 5 box and bottle Bathtub Perfume Traps Pool Shark 1 Pair Arrested in Sale of 11c Perfume for 15 2 These headlines suggest the rampant problem of piracy in the perfume industry a criminal activity prevalent in any field in which luxury goods are involved For an example of the legal battles that can ensue from the selling of pirated fashions check out this New York Times blog post Though Chanel s fragrances were not the only French perfumes targeted by counterfeiters Chanel No 5 consistently turns up in smuggling arrests counterfeit busts and consumer warnings about cheap perfume scams Chanel No 5 has a cachet that everyone wants but where does this reputation come from Counterfeit Chanel No 5 Bottle and Box c 1950 1959 Gift of Annette Green F2005 860 986AB Continue reading From the Archives Discovering Counterfeit Chanel No 5 in a Museum Collection Posted by FIDM Museum Permalink Comments 1 TrackBack 0 April 10 2012 Chains of Chanel Gilt chains are a recurring visual theme in the Chanel lexicon Beginning in the 1920s Gabrielle Coco Chanel promoted costume jewelry as an alternative to jewelry made of gold and studded with pearls

    Original URL path: http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/chanel/ (2016-02-12)
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