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“Everyone told me my clothes didn’t fit, even my friends.”[1] So says celebrated designer Thom Browne, whose name is synonymous with the shrunken suit tailoring that has become the standout menswear trend of the past decade. Though he is now considered a darling of the fashion industry, his unusual take on classic tailoring was initially met with resistance. But Browne knew there was a market for his designs – he envisioned “the businessman who wants to look both conservative and cool,”[2] and transformed his personal style into a successful global label. Thom Browne Fall/Winter 2013/14, Look 8. Photo by Marcus... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at FIDM Museum Blog
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We love it when our interns can combine their passions with hands-on experience, so we were particularly happy to welcome archivist-in-training Sandy Lu to the FIDM Museum this summer. Sandy processed the Museum's Maurice Levin Archive, a collection of personal and professional papers belonging to a prominent mid-century California designer. Read on to learn how Sandy created an organized, accessible archive for future researchers to enjoy! Sandy is currently a graduate student at UCLA pursuing her Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS). She is interested in design history, pop culture, and the relationship between cultural institutions and public education.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Yesterday was officially "Ask A Curator" Day on Twitter: members of the public were invited to ask museum curators questions about their profession, background, personal interests, and even how much coffee they drink! Over 1,300 international museums participated, including the FIDM Museum. Associate Curator Christina Johnson gamely answered questions all day from curious minds around the world. If you missed her responses, check out our recap below. Of course, Ask A Curator isn't limited to one day - feel free to ask questions anytime on social media or the blog! Associate Curator Christina Johnson with Curator Kevin Jones How do... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Wild costumes, elaborate musical numbers, and the misadventures of unrequited love: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend delivers it all! We are thrilled to feature Costume Designer Melina Root's imaginative designs in this year's Art of Outstanding Television Costume Design exhibition - her ability to keep up with main character Rebecca Bunch's fantasy musical numbers and real-life shenanigans is truly impressive. Co-creator, star, writer, and Executive Producer Rachel Bloom joined Root for an interview about their collaborative process...read on to learn the story behind the turkey bra, Root's dream costume for Rebecca Bunch, and what to expect in Season Two! Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Costume Designer... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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In honor of Labor Day, we want to recognize one of the largest labor organizations in the garment industry: the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), representing the thousands of men and women who painstakingly made and manufactured women's clothing. The ILGWU was active from 1900 to 1995, but throughout its 95 year history it made great strides in demanding justice and fair representation for those working in an industry known for extremely hazardous conditions. Workers in a garment factory, c. 1910. Courtesy of the Kheel Center at Cornell University. The ILGWU was started in 1900 during the throes of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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We are so excited to share Part Two of intern Kasia Stempniak's blog series; in this post, she shares her findings after completing The Dress Detective method on a 19th century Parisian couture gown. Make sure you read Part One about Kasia's summer internship at the FIDM Museum! ******************************************************************************************************* I always saw, I always said If I were grown and free, I’d have a gown of reddest red As fine as you could see, Dorothy Parker’s poem of sartorial bliss in a red dress might have resonated with the owner of the vibrant velvet gown below.[1] Velvet Evening Gown, P.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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We are exceptionally lucky at the FIDM Museum to have the help of talented interns and volunteers throughout the year. This summer, we were thrilled to welcome Kasia Stempniak as our intern, who worked on curatorial research (including French translations), exhibition installation, and everything in between. Kasia is a Ph.D. candidate in Romance Studies at Duke University. Her dissertation looks at the connections between fashion, literature and urban space in mid-to-late 19th century Paris. This fall, she will head to Paris as an exchange student at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure (ENS) where she will be researching and writing her dissertation.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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In the second installment of our "Confessions of a Curator" series, Kevin Jones explores a rather scandalous new donation, and the role of censorship and sexuality in fashion. As always, if you have questions for our curatorial team, feel free to get in touch with us by commenting on our posts or sending an email. **************************************** June 3, 1964…A day that will live in fashion infamy. Fifty-two years ago Women’s Wear Daily published a photo that sent shockwaves around the globe: model Peggy Moffitt (b. 1940) wearing designer Rudi Gernreich’s (1922-1985) “Monokini.” This topless swimsuit was not new; Rudi had... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Every two years, the world embraces Olympic-mania, and the fashion scene is no exception - just look at the cover of Vogue's August issue! Athletes are used as models in magazine editorials, and high fashion brands frequently step in to design the opening and closing ceremony looks for their respective countries: Lacoste for France, Stella McCartney for the United Kingdom, Giorgio Armani for Italy, and Ralph Lauren for the United States, among others. The athleisure trend shows no signs of slowing down on the runway and in stores, in part encouraged by the Games in Rio. In 1984, the Olympics... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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We have fully embraced Olympic Fever here at the FIDM Museum, and we are eager to share sporting objects in our Collection that correspond with the Games! Today we're highlighting an early 19th century coat worn by the Royal Company of Archers in Scotland. Archery made its Olympic debut 1900 (with a women's category added four years later), though it is one of the oldest documented sports in history. The Olympic archers of 2016 wear purely practical clothing - athletic fabrics meant to protect from all types of weather conditions, and above all not interfere with an archer's form. However,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Have you had a chance to view our new Art of Outstanding Television Costume Design exhibition? Here's your chance to enjoy the show and mingle with fellow costume fans. Join us for a morning of traditional treats in celebration of Outlander on Saturday, August 20! We'll be serving a selection of biscuits, scones, and tarts from the official Outlander companion cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders: Outlander Kitchen. Don't forget to show your plaid! RSVP to info@fidmmuseumshop.org. Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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As you walk into the FIDM Museum's Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibition, you are greeted with the words "Creating the Character." This year's exhibition is all about process: what inspires costume designers? How do they bring characters to life one episode at a time? What tools do they use to convey a program's comedy, romance, fantasy, drama, or historical period? With so many platforms to view television shows - Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix in addition to traditional network channels - what new challenges face today's costume designers? This is the 10th anniversary of the Outstanding Art of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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It is with sadness that the FIDM Museum is sharing the passing of Mrs. Alfred Bloomingdale. Betsy Bloomingdale became a founding donor to the FIDM Museum in 1977, giving a selection of Dior, Courrèges, and Givenchy haute couture from her wardrobe. Over the years, she donated over 180 beautiful ensembles and hundreds of croquis to our Museum. In 2009, we curated a very special exhibition celebrating these remarkable donations and her amazing style. Working with her on High Style: Betsy Bloomingdale and the Haute Couture was an experience we cherish. Mrs. Bloomingdale welcomed us into her home with graciousness and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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When we prepare our annual Art of Outstanding Television Costume Design exhibition, we have the opportunity to closely examine garments as we condition, dress, and place ensembles around the galleries. Though these costumes are meant for the small screen, we are continuously amazed at the beautiful and intricate details that designers incorporate into their work. It is these thoughtful additions that help the audience understand and interpret characters, giving vibrancy and authenticity to the programs we love to watch. The exhibition officially opens to the public on August 2, but we couldn't wait to share a few of our favorite... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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What better time than Bastille Day to celebrate French fashion? We've written extensively about French designers represented in the FIDM Museum Collection on our blog; below, you'll find links to just a few of our favorite articles. Who is your favorite designer from France? Tell us in the comments section! Paul Poiret Tunic Paul Poiret c. 1913 Purchase 2008.25.4 Boué Soeurs Girl's dress Boué Soeurs c. 1924-25 Gift of Lloyd Costen 2006.876.3AB Madeleine Vionnet Evening gown Madeleine Vionnet c. 1936-1938 Museum Purchase, Funds provided by Mrs. Tonian Hohberg 2008.5.50AB Jacques Fath "St. Charles" afternoon dress Jacques Fath Spring/Summer 1953 Museum... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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La Dolce Vita evokes beauty, luxury, and joyful exuberance – mid-century Italian life at its most glamourous. We think of Sophia Loren wearing lavish gowns at movie premieres, and European royalty vacationing on the Amalfi coast. Yet just a few years earlier, Italy was suffering the aftermath of World War II, surrounded by destruction and struggling to find a national identity after years of dictatorship.[1] Surprisingly, Italian fashion played a vital role in the country’s post-war economic resurgence. From Prada to Pucci, Valentino to Versace, Italy is heralded as one of the most progressive and respected fashion capitals in the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Preparations are underway for our annual Art of Television Costume Design exhibition, opening to the public on August 2, 2016. We showed you a behind-the-scenes shot of Creative Director Peter Lam's scale model of our galleries as he develops the exhibition design; the costumes have been delivered, and our team is busy preparing condition reports and dressing mannequins! Want a first look at one of the most popular television shows featured in the exhibition? We invite you to join us for an evening with Outlander Costume Designer Terry Dresbach on Wednesday, July 20 from 6 pm - 7 pm on... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Félix Alexandre: his fans were called “the richest of any exhibited”[1] at London’s 1851 Crystal Palace Exposition; they were commissioned and carried by European royalty, and painted by the artistic masters of the 19th century. His fans represented a lifestyle of luxury, ornate works of art that communicated the status and wealth of their owners. Today, fans bearing his signature reside in museums around the world, and two examples are currently on display in the FIDM Museum exhibition A Graceful Gift: Fans from the Mona Lee Nesseth Collection. Little is known about the early life of this gifted artist. He... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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In our last Confessions of a Curator post, Associate Curator Christina Johnson shared her behind-the-scenes process of putting together the next FIDM Museum History Gallery exhibition: ManMode: Dressing the Male Ego. The exhibition will examine three centuries of menswear, showcasing male dress from the elegant to the outlandish, and everything in between. Christina’s post gave readers a sneak peek of objects that will be featured in the exhibition (including a smoking jacket and two pairs of fabulous shoes), and today we’re teasing you with detail shots of a few of our favorite pieces. We can’t wait for you to see... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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We hope you’ve had a chance to visit our Graceful Gift fan exhibition, learn about the unique objects on display, and hear directly from our donor and fan collector Mona Lee Nesseth. Now, there’s even more to see when you visit our galleries: we are excited to announce the temporary installation SHAPED: Case Studies in Communication, Ventilation & Construction. In coordination with A Graceful Gift, students in FIDM's Advanced Practice in Color, Design & 3D Form class researched and created conceptual interpretations of the fan and its many functions. Each piece is accompanied by a text panel written by the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Look closely at any 18th or 19th European century painting depicting court life – chances are, there is a woman somewhere in the vignette artfully displaying an ornate fan. It is an accessory that we rarely think of today, yet just one hundred years ago, a lady was rarely seen without it. So ubiquitous was the fan that in 1711 author Joseph Addison wrote in The Spectator, a popular British magazine, “Women are armed with Fans as Men with Swords, and sometimes do more Execution with them.”[1] Jules Donzel fils, artists France, c. 1900 Painted silk taffeta & bone 2013.975.14AB... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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The FIDM Museum is hiring an exhibition installer! This short-term contract position will play a vital role in mounting the 10th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibition. As an exhibition installer, you will work closely with FIDM Museum staff to prepare incoming TV costumes for display. Costumes from The Mindy Project, designed by Salvador Perez. We are looking for a detail-oriented individual who is capable of overseeing a busy, frequently changing work environment. Some background in museum studies is preferred. Must be available to work Monday through Friday, June 20 through July 29, except Monday, July 4. To... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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It takes a distinctive aesthetic, passion, and discipline to collect rare and beautiful objects. It takes a profoundly generous spirit to then pass that collection on so that more people can enjoy them. Mona Lee Nesseth, a Graduate Gemologist, custom jewelry designer, and antique and estate jewelry expert, made a truly graceful gift when she bestowed her exquisite collection of hand fans to the FIDM Museum & Galleries, which are now showcased in the current exhibition, A Graceful Gift: Fans From The Mona Lee Nesseth Collection. The exhibition is open for one more month - make sure you catch it... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
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As you explore the new FIDM Museum Online Collections, we want to make sure you can navigate the database as smoothly as possible. Below, you'll find questions and answers that should help guide you through the search process. Of course, if you have any additional questions please feel free to comment below, or send us an email. Don't forget to share with us know your favorite finds! Q: Are all of the objects in the FIDM Museum Collections shown in the online database? A: Not yet; we have over 15,000 objects in the Museum, and only about 650 of these... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog
The FIDM Museum is dedicated to making our collections accessible to the public, so we are thrilled to announce the launch of a brand new feature on our website: The Online Collections Database! You can can now search the collections digitally, browse pictures, and learn more information about the Museum's objects. The video below will introduce you to various features of the new Online Collections: FIDM Museum Online Collections from FIDM Museum on Vimeo. Simply visit the Museum's website and click on the "Collections" tab, or visit the database directly. Explore the Museum's Permanent and Study Collections, Textiles and Jewelry,... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2016 at FIDM Museum Blog