Must See: Fall Exhibitions

There are several must see exhibitions this fall and I wanted to share a few with the group. These are listed in order by the date in which they end.


Man Mode: Dressing the Male Ego

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museum

August 2, 2016 to December 23, 2016

Ego! It comes across loud and clear through a man’s wardrobe. Boldness and confidence translate into strong silhouettes, dominant colors, and militant embellishment. Victorian aesthetes were impeccably tailored, showcasing mastery of sartorial connoisseurship. The educated gent’s prowess for art and sportsmanship were revealed through his neckwear and shoes: Ascot or bow tie today? Wing-tips or spectators? Embracing innovation–cutting-edge textiles and space-age silhouettes–meant a mid-century man could inhabit out-of-this world concepts. Modern hipsters pair straight-off-the-runway fast fashion with vintage or eco couture to express a calculated interest in fashion. From the bedroom to the ballroom and the office to the outfield–male egos demand attention! ManMode: Dressing the Male Ego presents three centuries of menswear from the FIDM Museum collection.

(Photo and exhibition details:


Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

July 19, 2014 to January 8, 2017

This dazzling exhibition focuses on the Museum’s world-class collection of jewelry from Ancient Nubia (located in what is now Sudan). The Nubian adornments housed at the MFA constitute the most comprehensive collection outside Khartoum. As the conduit between the Mediterranean world and lands south of the Nile Valley, Nubia was known for its exotic luxury goods—especially gold. “Gold and the Gods” focuses on excavated ornaments from an early 20th-century expedition by the Museum with Harvard University, dating from 1700 BC to 300 AD, including both uniquely Nubian and foreign imports, prized for their materials, craftsmanship, symbolism, and rarity. “Gold and the Gods” includes more than one hundred treasures, including a gilt-silver mummy mask of Queen Malakaye and the famous Hathor-headed crystal pendant. The MFA is the only US museum able to mount an exhibition devoted solely to Nubian adornment drawing exclusively on its own collection.

(Photo and exhibition details:


Whirling Return of the Ancestors: Egúngún Masquerade Ensembles of the Yorùbá

Rhode Island School of Design Museum

July 15, 2016 to January 8, 2017

Whirling Return of the Ancestors celebrates the rich and varied artistry of the ensembles worn in Egúngún masquerades—performances that celebrate the power and presence of ancestral spirits among Yorùbá peoples of West Africa. In this installation, works on loan from Brown University’s Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology are presented alongside a magnificent, newly commissioned ensemble from Yorùbá artisans in Benin.

Crochet Coral Reef: TOXIC SEAS

Museum of Arts and Design

September 15, 2016 to January 22, 2017

Crochet Coral Reef: TOXIC SEAS celebrates the tenth anniversary of the “Crochet Coral Reef” (2005–present), an ongoing project by sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim and their Los Angeles–based organization, the Institute For Figuring. Mixing crocheted yarn with plastic trash, the work fuses mathematics, marine biology, feminist art practices, and craft to produce large-scale coralline landscapes, both beautiful and blighted. At once figurative, collaborative, worldly, and dispersed, the “Crochet Coral Reef” offers a tender response to the dual calamities facing marine life: climate change and plastic trash.

(Photo and exhibition details:


The Secret Life of Textiles: Animal Fibers

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

August 15, 2016 to February 20, 2017

The second in the Secret Life of Textiles exhibition series, this installation features works of art made from the most important animal fibers—wool, hair, silk, and feathers—by numerous cultures throughout history and in different regions of the world. The objects on view include fibers from sheep, camelids, goats, yaks, horses, cows, and other small animals; silk filament from cultivated or wild silk worms; and feathers.

The exhibition includes a rich selection of reference materials reflecting the transformation of animal fibers through the use of technology. It also reveals the expertise of conservators in fiber identification using advance microscopy.

(Photo and exhibition details:

FIDM 6th Annual “Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design” Exhibition

“In its sixth year, this annual exhibition salutes the work of 2012’s Primetime Emmy® – Nominated Costume Designers and Costume Supervisors. Including over 75 costumes from a variety of television genres, this year’s exhibition will be guest curated by Mary Rose, costume designer and current president of the Costume Designers Guild. Featured television shows include Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time, Pan Am, Smash, Magic City, and many more. ”

From July 31- Oct 20, 2012
Free Admission

ARLIS 2012 FTC SIG Meeting Minutes – Draft

For those who attended the FTC SIG meeting at ARLIS 2012, kindly review the draft minutes and submit corrections or edits within one week.  (And please forgive the formatting; it’s a WordPress issue.)  Thank you!

Sandra Ley (FTC SIG Moderator) /


40th Annual ARLIS/NA Conference


4:00 – 5:00 PM, Elgin Room, Toronto, Canada

Sandra Ley, Pima Community College, Moderator /


In attendance:

Susan Chute, Independent, Recorder

Kareemah Hamdan, Chesterfield Co. Public Libraries

Daniel Starr, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Terrie Wilson, Michigan State

Lisa Ryan, LIM College

Lindsay King, Yale University

Moira Steven, Maine College of Art

Kat Oosterhuis, St. Catherine University

Julie Williamsen, Brigham Young University

Margaret Richter, EBSCO

Greta Earnest, Fashion Institute of Technology

Introductions (with notes of interest to all)

Moira Steven, who recently developed a fashion information resource collection for Maine College of Art, noted that she found the FTC SIG Workshop presentations from ARLIS 2011 very helpful:

Edith Serkownek, Collection Development Resources for Fashion & Textiles,

Robin Dodge, Trend Forecasting and Trend Reporting Services: an Overview for Libraries,

Lindsay King will have an article in a forthcoming issue of Art Documentation.

Daniel Starr informed us that he’s working more closely with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute library while the Institute is under renovation. (Scheduled to reopen in 2014.)

Membership Update

Sandra announced that, in this first year of the FTC SIG, she has been contacted by several SIG members who have expressed their appreciation for the new group and its activities.  (Comments included, “There’s nothing like it out there” and “It’s long overdue!”)

In the FTC SIG’s first year, 106 people subscribed to the blog.

“Official” FTC SIG membership is restricted to those with active ARLIS memberships.  However, anyone who is interested is welcome subscribe to the blog and interact as a member.

Most members are affiliated with academic institutions with active fashion programs.  Others are from museum and public libraries.  Some subscribers are from foreign countries, an area which Sandra noted she’d like to develop further as they provide a much-needed and appreciated international perspective.


Call for Vice-moderator, Blog Assistant-Editor

Sandra opened the floor for self-nominations to the position of Vice-Moderator and Blog Assistant-Editor.  She encouraged anyone who’s interested to volunteer.

As no one volunteered for the job of vice-moderator, Sandra agreed to continue as moderator.   Should anyone decide later on to volunteer for this or any other position, just email Sandra.

Kareemah Hamdan volunteered be the Blog assistant editor and was accepted.  She will be given blog administrator status immediately.

FTC Blog:

Sandra noted that she’d like to see more active participation on the blog from the membership.  Sandra reminded us to use the blog ( regularly to disseminate any fashion news or information of interest to fashion librarians.  (Is the difficulty of the WordPress software an obstacle?)

Sandra has used one of the standard templates for the interface. She has played a bit with it, but not extensively.

Kareemah said that she has found online instructions for “how to blog on WordPress” put out by a vintage pattern lending library that would be appropriate for the SIG community. She will look into the possibility of reusing and adapting those instructions.

Kareemah also expressed interest in trying to customize the WordPress implementation so that it is as tailored to the fashion community as possible.

Fashion Librarians Resource Guide (LibGuide):

Question from Moira:  Does the SIG LibGuide cover textile arts (i.e., fiber arts?)  Answer from Sandra:  No, but if anyone would like any other FTC-related topics to be covered on the LibGuide, put a call out on the blog to see if there is a general consensus for the need to cover the topic.  If general consensus is received, then gather and submit the most highly-recommended information resources into a list with descriptions and vendor URLs. Useful commercial resources are welcome.  When ready, submit the list to the “Resources” area of the blog.  Sandra will insert them into the LigGuide.

Question from Susan:  Is there interest in a section on resources for costume design for theatre & film?  As there seemed to be sufficient interest, Susan agreed to work on this, in collaboration with Lindsay.

A section on Fashion Merchandising, and other resources related to the business of fashion was also suggested and agreed upon, although there might be slight overlap with the existing section on trend forecasting.   (Who volunteered to cover this area?)

The existence of other LibGuides on the subject of fashion was raised, and concern about duplication expressed.  The FTC LibGuide, however, serves a different function, because it is directed at librarians for collection development and pedagogic purposes, rather than as an assist for students in their research.

A  Pathfinders section in the LibGuide already links to a fair number of these guides; the question was raised whether, in considering a librarian’s limited time, there might be some way of indicating the “best of the best.”  Sandra agreed to include the LibGuide’s own “star ranking system” for all the LibGuide links, so users could easily indicate the sites most helpful to them.

Trend Forecasting Services

A brief discussion ensued about academic institutions being unable to support subscriptions to commercial Trend Forecasting services due to the high cost of the subscription as well as contractual conditions about access and use that are difficult for colleges and universities to comply with.  Sandra related that with persistence, she has been able to negotiate with some vendors and overcome some of these obstacles.

FTC-related ARLIS/NA 2012 Conference Highlights

The ARLIS/NA Society Circle event on Sunday evening will feature Sylvia Frank, Director of the Film Reference Library and Curator of the Canadian Film Gallery, with an onsite presentation/tour of her exhibition Otherworldly:  The Art of Canadian Costume Design

The ARLIS/NA Fashion, Textile & Costume Collections tour will occur on Monday from 9:15am to 6pm.

Discussion of ARLIS/NA Pasadena  – Brainstorming & Initial Planning

Possible Panel Presentation:  Sandra had a preliminary discussion with ARLIS/NA President Debbie Kempe and past-President Jon Evans about organizing a panel presentation on the research process for costume design for film, television and theater productions.  Debbie and Jon recommended that we contact ARLIS/NA member Leah Whittington of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.  (Sandra volunteered to contact her.)   It was suggested that the process of designing for film be compared with theatrical design by inviting a noted theatrical designer as well. Susan and Lindsay will investigate this possibility.  Sandra volunteered to contact two acquaintances in the Hollywood film industry for more recommendations.

Walking Tour Possibility:  Sandra announced that Justine Parish of California’s Art Center College of Design ( offered to conduct a walking tour of the L.A. fashion district:

The tour would include a stop at the Fashion Bookstore:

All present expressed great interest in this tour.  Sandra will contact Justine and ARLIS/NA to begin organizing the tour.

Among additional suggestions for extending the tour, those received most enthusiastically included:

Otis College of Art & Design & Library:  (Sandra will contact Betsy Galloway to see if there’s interest.)

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising – Library & museum:  (Sandra will contact Robin Dodge, Librarian, to see if there’s interest.)

The Costume & Textiles Department at the LA County Museum of Art:

Sandra suggested that, given it takes 30-60 minutes to drive to LACMA from the fashion district, LACMA might be a stand-alone tour.  She suggested that we might expand the tour to include other SIGs (decorative arts, photography, general arts) that would appreciate tours in the other LACMA departments.  (Sandra will contact the conference organizers and other SIGS to see if there’s interest.)  Susan suggested that perhaps sessions could be held at some of these venues, as well.

As it was after our allotted time, at this point the meeting was informally adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Chute, Recorder

April 2012