Just before the exhibition closing, I got up to New York City to see the Costume Institute’s Camp: Notes on Fashion. The show layout is mimicked in the catalog – two volumes that are bound together. The first volume covers the first half of the show, the history and development of camp. For me, this was the best part of the show because it emphasized how intentional dress choice has been throughout history. My favorite piece was this Ocsar Wilde-inspired ensemble from Gucci’s 2017 menswear collection.
The second half of the exhibit largely took place in one, two-story room. This was full-on camp. In the catalog, this is volume two, a flip book of all the costume from modern and contemporary designers.
I had a lot of favorites from this huge exhibition, but fell in love with these House of Balenciaga ensembles from the 2016-2017 autumn/winter collection.
For those of you who couldn’t make it, I do recommend the catalog. The images of the costume portray the fabric and cut, and camp, in clean presentation. The essays are insightful and this was a well-researched show.
While at the Met I caught another show just ending, the textile work of Mrinalini Mukherjee. I’ll share images from that exhibition next month!
The 9th Annual Fashion: Now & Then: Identity conference will be held November 1st-2nd at LIM College in New York City. Registration is now open.
In this two-day conference participants will discuss the past, present, and future uses of fashion information as it relates to identity. Participants will be drawn from libraries, archives, academic institutions, publishers, collectors, museums, and the fashion industry to represent a full range of expertise.
This weekend I finally dropped in to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the exhibition Souls Grown Deep: Artists of the African American South. In 2014, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation began transferring a majority of the 1,000 artworks in their collection to permanent collections around the world. Last year, the Philadelphia Museum of Art acquired some of the famous Gee’s Bend quilts as well as sculpture. This exhibition showcased some of these new acquisitions.
Gee’s Bend in Alabama is known for the quilts made there in the early twentieth century through to today. These artworks are expressive and unique, using scraps of fabric and clothing, patchworks hand-stitched into bed-sized quilts. Many of the quilts in the exhibit are online, so I’ll link to those better quality images.
Nettie Young’s Milky Way (1971) is part of the Freedom Quilting Bee. Young was a co-manager of the bee and this quilt is an example of the commercialization of the Gee’s Bend quilts. While this quilt is personal, the design is reflective of the contract the bee had with Bloomingdale’s. The department store design a quilt of circles and squares, then commissioned the bee to produce it. These may have been leftover elements from that design.
Right next door to this exhibition was The Art of Collage and Assemblage, a theme that fits will with the Gee’s Bend quilts. One of the pieces is Charlie Logan’s Man’s “Diamond Sis” Coat (1978-84). Logan, often homeless and sick in Alton, Illinois, wore embellished garments like this one. Found objects such as buttons and photos are stitched right in to the jacket.
Technical Services/Reference Librarian, LIM College & Vice Moderator of FTC SIG
What’s your Go-To Resource to Recommend for FTC Students?
I love showing students WGSN both for their marketing reports and fashion forecasts. Not only is the information unique and fascinating, the reports are beautiful to look at and students really enjoy them. “Gen X Men: Style Tribes” is one of my favorite reports to demonstrate the power of their research. Our Fashion Merch students also really love the Design Resources tools like Colour Play and the Image & Design Library.
Tell me about a project you’re working on!
This is my first year organizing our annual Fashion: Now & Then conference, which is in it’s ninth year running (please come!). This specialized conference focuses on fashion information professional and scholars and this year will have talks on everything from fashion of sex workers to gender presentation. I attended this conference as an LIS student interning at the Met back in 2010 so it’s wild to me that I’m organizing it now!
Are you seeing any trends in FTC student projects/topics/etc?
Our students are nuts for sustainability. They are very concerned about the environment and climate change. They have big ambitions to enter the fashion industry and institute change that will lead to a healthier planet for all. I hope they can hold on to their optimism for change as they enter the industry!
What are you currently reading?
I’m a fantasy/sci-fi nut and am now reading The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. “Professionally” I am also reading Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual (For A Sexist Workplace) by Jessica Bennett.
The Museum Archives at The Metropolitan Museum of Art has opened for research additions to The Costume Institute records, which were previously processed with a generous grant from the Leon Levy Foundation and opened for research in 2015.
The boxes containing these newly processed records (approx. 60 linear feet), which are
numbered 295-428, include materials added to all of the existing series, especially the following:
Series II. Curators’ and Administrators’ files: Subseries II.B. Stella Blum, Subseries II.D.
Diana Vreeland, and Subseries II.G. Richard Martin
Series III. Exhibition records: III.GGG. “American Women of Style” (December 13, 1975-
August 31, 1976), III.JJJ. “Vanity Fair: A Treasure Trove of The Costume Institute”
(1977), and Subseries III.WWWW. “Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years –
Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum” (May 1-July 29, 2000)
Series IV. Loans: to other museum and organizations from the 1930s-1960s
Series VII. Operations: Activities of The Costume Institute’s precursor, the Museum of
Costume Art, in the late 1930s
Series VIII. Party of the Year: events in the 1940s and 1950s.
The original 10 series were in alphabetical order. A new series Series XI. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection Acquisition, has been added at the end, and includes the following materials:
The Brooklyn Museum’s accession files for costume and textile items from 1903-2003
Photographs from Brooklyn Museum’s files of costumes and accessories included in the 2009 accession
Research materials supporting the Brooklyn Museum’s 1982 exhibition “The Genius of
Records on Charles James originating at The Brooklyn Museum that complement the
Charles James papers in the Costume Institute Library.
The Costume Institute records are currently stored offsite, and reference access to them is provided by Museum Archives. To access folders from the collection for your research:
Consult the online finding aid
Determine the boxes/folders you would like to access
Contact the Archives staff by email (archives@metmuseum) or phone (570-3937) to
schedule a reference visit in the 4 th floor Archives reading room to view the materials
In planning your research visit, please note that since materials are offsite and it will take 48-72 hours to recall them