Saturday, July 28, 2012

Of Tutus and Other Things

National Ballet Tutu on display at the Design Exchange in Toronto
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012
Where has the summer gone? I've been so busy that I feel like I've missed the lazy days of summer. And yet, I've never been happier -- working on editing the Ryerson Fashion Archives, illustrating an article for Selvedges Magazine and a myriad of other fashion related projects. They say that when your work is your passion, it is not work and that is definitely true in my case.

Recently I visited the exhibitions The Tutu Project and Designing the Ballet at the Design Exchange in Toronto. The tutus from the National Ballet Company on display in Designing the Ballet are exquisite, and there even are some sample tutus to try on.

But it is now time for me to take a pause and I'll be taking a computer holiday - stepping away from the screen, the mobile device etcetera, to spend focussed time with those that I love. I'll be back soon, refreshed and relaxed... Happy summer!

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All text and images on this blog are the copyright of Ingrid Mida, unless otherwise noted. The copying of posts, images and/or text without proper attribution is violation of copyright and legal action will be pursued.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fashion, A-Z at The Museum at FIT

The Museum at FIT is one of my favourite fashion museums. With over 50,000 garments and accessories in their collection, Director and Chief Curator Valerie Steele and her talented staff have one of the largest collections in the world to draw on and they use this archive to come up with something fresh and innovative on a regular basis. 

Fashion, A-Z, Part II could have been a yawn, but it was not. Featuring highlights from their enormous collection, the full spectrum of design approaches and talents is presented in the upstairs history gallery.

Several of my favourite sculptural garments from their collection were on display, including: The Charles James Tree dress from 1955 in dusty rose that stands as the penultimate body sculpture (pictured above); The Martin Margiela sleeveless jacket from sprint 1997 that evokes a mannequin; and, a Madame Gres abstracted triangular black silk faille evening dress from 1967 that asserts angularity and a mod-1960s vibe. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fashioning the Object at the Art Institute of Chicago

In No Time Collection 2007, Hand-knitted Dress by Sandra Backlund, Image courtesy of the AIC

Fashioning the Object at the Art Institute of Chicago is an exhibition celebrating the innovative work of Bless, Boudicca, and Sandra Backlund. The practices of this group redefine fashion design into a conceptually based interdisciplinary process that sits on the intersection of art and fashion. Not driven by market forces, the work on display is intellectually engaging and exciting. 

The exhibition curator writes:  "Bless, Boudicca, and Backlund view fashion as a critical forum for dialogue and exchange, as well as an armature for understanding our place in the world. However, they endeavor to move beyond previous practices by drawing on an even greater spectrum of ideas inspired by disciplines as diverse as fine art, performance, design, and architecture to create work that responds to the social, political, and cultural environment and explores the creative process."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Online Historic Costume Collections

In a click of a mouse, I can visit the historic and contemporary costume collections from around the world. Although some museums and university collections welcome visiting scholars, digitizing a collection reduces the handling of fragile garments and also offers everyone a chance to see garments that are not on display.  Here are my top picks of accessible collections (click on museum name for related link): 

Dior 1947 Bar Suit, Image Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute
Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Collection: The Met has over 35,000 costumes and accessories in their collection, with the earliest piece going back to the 15th century. This New York museum sets the gold standard for online digitized collections, providing multiple images and extensive descriptive information and provenance details for each item.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fashion and Art, Canadian Style

1. One's personality expressed in their clothing, “fashion personality.” 
2. One's nationality expressed in their clothing, “fashion nationality.”

—The Urban Dictionary

Today is Canada's 145th birthday and it seemed like the perfect day to post about Fashionality: Dress and Identity in Contemporary Canadian Art at the McMichael Gallery in Vaughan, Ontario. I've extracted parts from the press release below to present an overview of the show, and it is clear that this would have been the perfect venue for my beaded and embroidered hockey equipment from my recent show Constructions of Femininity at loop gallery.

“Fashionality” is a newly coined play on words that refers to the visual culture and semiotics of dress and adornment. Combining the words “fashion,” “personality,” and “nationality,” it signals the interplay between clothing, identity, and cultural affinity. Taking the idiom of dress as a starting point, Fashionality: Dress and Identity in Contemporary Canadian Art explores the use of apparel in the work of twenty-three contemporary Canadian artists. It considers the diverse ways in which the clothed body and the idiom of dress are employed as sources of inspiration, humour, and critique, and as sites for the exploration of issues of identity, hybridity, and self-expression. Not strictly about fashion, the exhibition explores the ways in which the subjectivities and identities of those living in Canada are expressed, deconstructed, and reconfigured, while raising some intriguing questions about the embodied Canadian subject.