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Taking a look back at our celebration of all things French fashion in honor of Bastille Day! ********************************************************************************************************************************** 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,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at FIDM Museum Blog
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Empress Joséphine of France lived an extraordinary life, and it all began on June 23, 1763 on the island of Martinique. She was born Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie (she was called Rose until Napoléon bestowed her with the name Joséphine) to wealthy French Creole sugarcane plantation owners. Before meeting her future husband Napoléon Bonaparte, she had already been married (her first husband died at the guillotine), given birth to two children, and survived her 1794 imprisonment during the Reign of Terror. Just one year later, she met Napoléon and became his mistress. He was intensely infatuated with... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Are you passionate about fashion history and curious about what goes on behind-the-scenes in a busy museum? We welcome you to apply for a Fall Internship with the FIDM Museum! Interns and volunteers are an integral part of our ongoing success; through matching your skills and interests with a specific project, we are committed to offering a dynamic and enriching experience. Interns work closely with staff and receive valuable hands-on training in museum practices. Assignments vary depending on museum needs, but may include research, cataloging, or digitization. Fall interns must keep a weekly commitment of 15 – 40 hours for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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The following post was written by Christina Johnson, Associate Curator of the FIDM Museum. FIDM Museum Rudi Gernreich Archive Storage, 2019. Reorganizing and cataloging the FIDM Museum’s Rudi Gernreich Archive was one of the first projects I began after being hired as Collections Manager in 2003. Although at that point I was very much a nineteenth-century specialist, handling his pieces tempted me to venture a century beyond my beloved crinolines and black-and-white daguerreotypes, and onward to mini skirts, psychedelic colors, and a happening mid-century Los Angeles scene. Since then, I’ve had an abiding interest in this intriguing LA-based designer. I’ve... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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We are now four months into 2019 - have you noticed an influx of coral hues in your social media feed, fashion editorials, or latest tech gadgets? Announced last December, the 2019 Color of the Year ‘ Living Coral’ (officially known as PANTONE 16-1546) “embraces us with warmth and nourishment”[1] while “symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits.”[2] A color uniquely linked to nature, Living Coral celebrates beauty found in the outdoors, while also reminding consumers of the importance of environmental preservation; though the color sparks positivity, the latest research shows that about one-fifth of the world’s coral... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Our recent exhibition Majesty & Mystery: Saving a Napoléonic Court Gown introduced visitors to the magnificent royal court of Napoléon Bonaparte and Empress Joséphine. The gold and silver splendor seen in the court ensemble on display (currently the focus of our Operation 1804 fundraising campaign) was a marked contrast to the evening dress also shown in the gallery; this fine white muslin creation perfectly illustrated the shift towards simplicity in early 1800s fashion. "Marie Antoinette in a Chemise Dress," 1783 Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755 - 1842) Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Even before the Revolution,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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It is always an honor hosting costume designer Mary Zophres at the FIDM Museum. The three-time Academy Award nominee, four-time BAFTA nominee, and Costume Designers Guild winner for Best Contemporary Costume Design (La La Land) joined us for an afternoon at the FIDM Museum prior to the opening of our Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition. Curator Kevin Jones showed Zophres a rare 1960s man's jumpsuit inspired by the space race, and afterwards she answered questions about designing for both First Man and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, for which she received her third Academy Award nomination. Mary Zophres... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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The FIDM Museum is excited to announce our Summer Internship Program is open for applications. Interns work closely with FIDM Museum staff and receive valuable hands-on training in museum practices. We are currently seeking talented and motivated graduate students to assist with a variety of projects. The Museum offers two funded opportunities and several volunteer positions. All applicants should be currently enrolled in a graduate program in fashion history or museum studies; consideration will also be given to students beginning their graduate program in Fall 2019. The Lori and Sal Santamaura Summer Study Grant is open to U.S. citizens. This... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Dark glasses, ponytail, and a crisp starched collar: even for those outside of the fashion industry, designer Karl Lagerfeld (1933 - 2019) was an immediately recognizable self-made icon. Known for his acerbic wit (quoted eagerly in the press) and irreverent attitude, Lagerfeld was the definition of a Renaissance man. His relentless curiosity and quest for knowledge, dedication to art and literature, and voracious collecting - the amassed books in one of his homes is said to have stretched over three miles long[1] - set him apart, but it was his innate understanding of culture and “ability to identify, articulate, and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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The FIDM Museum Fashion Council is integral to the day-to-day operation of our institution. Because of the Museum's commitment to providing free admission, we rely on the group to support important acquisitions for the Permanent Collection - including our latest project, Operation 1804. Fashion Council's fundraising activities, hands-on volunteer hours, and educational events not only enrich the Collection, but also fulfill the Museum's mission and benefit our fashion community. In fact, in 2018, Fashion Council members contributed over 4,282 total volunteer hours and raised nearly $209,000 in both financial and in-kind donations. As a non-profit organization, we truly could not... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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February is a special time of year for the FIDM Museum; our gallery transforms into another universe, with cowboys and rock stars, queens and superheros, stylish con artists and brave activists representing a year in film costume design. For the 2019 exhibition, now in its 27th year, we've focused on how costume designers create an entire visual world from scratch - from the leading actor to the thousands of extras, each wardrobe decision helps to immerse the audience into a new reality. It is the job of costume designers and their teams to dream, design, and execute the wardrobe for... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Recently, the FIDM Museum had the honor of hosting Academy-Award winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne for a behind-the-scenes tour of our gallery and Collections storage. In between marveling at Empress Josephine and admiring a rare 16th century petticoat front, we asked Alexandra about her impressive work on the film Mary Queen of Scots – which we are thrilled to include in the Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition, opening February 6, 2019. Learn about her unique choice to outfit the cast in denim, and how this project compares to her two other Queen Elizabeth films, Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth:... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Today we're delving into the FIDM Museum's Operation 1804 project with Associate Curator Christina Johnson. Read on for Christina's interpretation of this important undertaking. ************************************************************************************************************* Associate Curator Christina Johnson with the train portion of the Napoléonic court ensemble Some people might believe that curators who work with historic materials are obsessed with the past. After all, we do spend quite a bit of time with objects made a generation (or more!) before we were even born. I believe the most significant contribution a curator can make is aligned entirely with the future—ensuring the objects in their stewardship (and the corresponding... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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“There is a new ‘wrinkle’ in dresses. As a matter of fact, they are all wrinkles, for they are made from the pretty crêpe tissue paper…”[1] The use of paper in fashion has a long history, spanning centuries and civilizations across the globe. Yet the introduction of crêpe tissue paper in the late 19th century sparked a new interest in the endless possibilities of this fabric-like fiber. Already a popular material for making artificial flowers and home décor, tissue paper was first given its machine-made crinkle by an English manufacturing company in the late 1880s.[2] Massachusetts paper goods company Dennison... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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The FIDM Museum was thrilled to host the CSA Western Region Jack Handford Summer Scholarship winner, Axelle Boyer. A Ph.D. student in History of Art and Visual Culture at UC Santa Cruz, Axelle previously received her M.A. in Fashion Studies from Parsons School of Design. Her research interests include body adornment, style, and fashion of the African diaspora. Axelle spent her time at the Museum working with our Special Collections, and in the process discovered a intriguing booklet by artist Raymond Duncan. Below, Axelle delves into Duncan’s fascinating world – including his foray into garment and textile design. ****************************************************************************************************************** “Make... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Recently, Los Angeles hosted a plethora of exhibitions dedicated to fashion photography: Capturing the Catwalk: Runway Photography from the Michel Arnaud Archive at the FIDM Museum; Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography 1911-2011 at the Getty Museum; and In High Style: The Photography of Neal Barr at the Museum of Ventura County. The FIDM Museum Fashion Council gathered the experts, curators, and contributors to all of these extraordinary exhibitions for their annual Fall Luncheon & Lecture Day on October 27 - an afternoon focused on all things fashion photography. The event, which raised funds for future FIDM Museum... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Just in time for Halloween, we're sharing Part Two of our Mugler-Inspired Costumes! As we learned in our previous post, Thierry Mugler used his runway to play out exotic fashion fantasies - everything from insects to angels, robots to rhinestone cowgirls appeared in his whimsical presentations. You'll notice that unlike today's fashion shows, these presentations were full of movement; rather than disappearing behind the clothing, Mugler's models act out his elaborate stories with emotion. Dancing, running, marching, flirting, and even bobsledding (see below!) were not unusual in Mugler's world. We hope you find the perfect costume for your own personal... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Halloween is just around the corner, but if you still haven't selected your costume, we've got you covered! Look no further than the treasure trove of inspiration found in Thierry Mugler's wonderfully whimsical runway shows from the 1980s and 90s. Known as the “PT Barnum of the fashion world,” Mugler’s extravagant runways built his reputation as the ultimate showman. Atlantis, Mount Olympus, Aliens, Superheroes, Insects, Hollywood, Robots, and the Wild West are just some of the themes that appeared in his surrealistic presentations. Mugler saw the fashion show as an opportunity to build new worlds of fantasy, to tell the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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The FIDM Museum History Gallery is a treasured part of our institution. It gives us the ability to showcase our vast Permanent Collection, or, in the case of the History Gallery’s current exhibition, an object that we hope to acquire! In the coming months, we are thrilled to take you behind-the-scenes of Majesty & Mystery: Saving a Napoléonic Court Gown. This unique exhibition introduces the Museum’s newest proposed acquisition: an extremely rare c. 1804 court gown possibly worn by Empress Joséphine, wife of Napoléon Bonaparte. As visitors explore the gallery, we share the historical importance of this gown, our research... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Join the FIDM Museum Fashion Council for our annual Fall Luncheon & Lecture Day on Saturday, October 27 at the FIDM Orange County Campus! We will celebrate the opening of Capturing the Catwalk: Runway Photography from the Michel Arnaud Archive in the OC gallery space; to mark the occasion, the afternoon symposium will focus on the art of fashion photography, 1911-1998. We are thrilled to be joined by Paul Martineau, Associate Curator, Department of Photographs, Getty Museum, who will speak about the Getty's latest exhibition Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography (open until October 21). Shelly Foote, formerly... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Today's post is brought to you by our summer intern Caela Castillo, who helped install the Art of Television Costume Design exhibition. Caela is a graduate student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the MA Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, and Museum Practice program. She also has an MA in History and Public History from Loyola University Chicago. She has previously interned at the Museum at FIT and the International Museum of Surgical Sciences in Chicago, and has contributed to exhibitions in California, Chicago, and New York. Her research interests include late 19th and early 20th century Paris;... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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"What makes Geoffrey Beene great? Is it the sophistication of his cut that makes the most bulky fabric seem airborne? The curved lines that give a graceful femininity to clothes without dipping into banality? It is all this but, more important, it is the designer’s unceasing struggle to find new materials and new shapes that flatter a woman’s body.”[1] Photograph by Michel Arnaud Geoffrey Beene at his Spring/Summer 1991 runway presentation Gift of Arnaud Associates, SC2000.1095.1 Described as cerebral, modernist, and the “architect of American clothing,”[2] designer Geoffrey Beene (1927 – 2004) made an indelible mark on fashion in the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Game of Thrones costume designer Michele Clapton visited the FIDM Museum yesterday to discuss her GOT-themed jewelry collaboration with Yunus & Eliza. Before her Q&A panel in front of a packed house, Michele spoke with us about her final season designing for the blockbuster show, how taking a break to work on The Crown benefited her return to GOT, and of course that spectacular white coat. See the costumes in person at the Art of Television Costume Design exhibition - but hurry, the GOT costumes are leaving early! The final date to see them is Saturday, September 22. Michele Clapton... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Today's post was written by our 2018 Santamaura Study Grant Intern Brian Centrone. After years of being a writer and an English professor, Brian returned to school to do an M. A. in Costume Studies at New York University. His research focus has been menswear, where he has looked at the role gender, sexuality, and masculinity played in men’s eighteenth century breeches, as well as the impact nineteenth century anxieties about dress and sexuality had on the persecution of Oscar Wilde, and the establishment of the homosexual stereotype/identity. He is always looking to fill the gaps in the history of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Television is truly in a golden age – the quality that audiences experience on network, streaming, and digital platforms is equivalent to films playing on the big screen. Of course, the visual impact of television plays a big role in bringing new worlds to life for viewers, thanks to the hard work and creativity of Costume Designers. On Saturday night, the FIDM Museum and Television Academy put the spotlight on design for the annual Art of Outstanding Television Costume Design exhibition. Now in its 12th year, the exhibition highlights the mastery of both new and veteran designers for television shows... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2018 at FIDM Museum Blog