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Associate Curator Christina Johnson concludes her two-part exploration of the career of milliner Leon Bennett in today's post. Learn the extent of Bennett's collaboration with designer Rudi Gernreich, and how his career transitioned to focus on Hollywood. Make sure to read part one of our Leon Bennett series here. ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************* Clipping: “Gernreich’s Fashions Are Eye-Popping Pace Setters,” Chicago Tribune, June 30, 1964, Gernreich Scrapbook 1964, Bequest of the Rudi Gernreich Estate, G85.331.11 Cap by Leon Bennett, “Fashion Independent: Mr. Rudi Gernreich,” Harper’s Bazaar, September 1964 From the sources I’ve gathered so far, I know Leon Bennett worked with Rudi Gernreich... Continue reading
Posted 10 hours ago at FIDM Museum Blog
Associate Curator Christina Johnson shares her research on the career of Leon Bennett, a milliner whose name appears in several Rudi Gernreich headpieces in the FIDM Museum collection. In the first of this two-part series, learn how Christina navigates historical primary sources to answer questions about Bennett's collaboration with Gernreich. **************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** Hat, Hemp and crocodile, Spring 1964, Bequest of the Rudi Gernreich Estate, 85.331.566 Leon Bennett label inside hat Going through objects in the FIDM Museum’s Rudi Gernreich Archive a few years ago, I came across a group of headwear labeled “Leon Bennett.” I hadn’t heard of the designer. Based... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at FIDM Museum Blog
We are one week away from the presidential election - have you made your plan to vote? Whether it’s early or on election day, in-person or by mail, we have the perfect garment to encourage your sense of civic duty: a 1980s linen shirtdress printed with the words of the United States constitution. Surprisingly, this tribute to American democracy was designed by a Frenchman, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac (b. 1949). Known for irreverent, whimsical designs, Castelbajac’s fascination with the United States is clear in his frequent use of Americana throughout his fifty plus years in the fashion industry. Printed linen shirtdress,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
In 1970, a small boutique in Galerie Vivienne, Paris - painted top to bottom with lush vegetation as a tribute to Henri Rousseau’s The Dream - brought a fresh sartorial perspective to the venerated fashion capital. The store, Jungle Jap, was an antithesis to the buttoned-up couture creations on Avenue Montaigne; instead, cheerful prints, bright colors, and voluminous silhouettes were executed in inexpensive cottons purchased at flea markets or the Marché Saint-Pierre, Montmartre’s discount fabric market. This clothing was dynamic and accessible, and the boutique attracted a young crowd eager to sway the tides of fashion’s status quo. The quiet... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
The FIDM Museum Special Collections hold a treasure trove of fashion ephemera. From personal and business archives to trade publications, these supplementary materials help us interpret the physical objects in the Museum's collection. Today, Registrar/Museum Coordinator Leigh Wishner, our resident textile aficionado, introduces you to a magazine that illustrates the importance of fabrics in fashion, and guided the textile industry in the mid-to-late 20th century: American Fabrics. *********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** American Fabrics magazines, left to right: Fall 1970, # 88; Fall 1976, #108; 1985, #133. All magazines in post: FIDM Museum Special Collections, Gift of Carol Dawes, SC2011.1168 Evening gowns, cocktail dresses,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
Associate Curator Christina Johnson writes about the extraordinary Duvelleroy fans in the FIDM Museum Collection. The Fan Association of North America (FANA) generously supported the archival display of select fans in this blog for FANtasy: The Mona Lee Nesseth Fan Collection at the FIDM Museum. Duvelleroy catalogue, c. 1903, Gift of Serge Davoudian, SC2019.1728.1 By the late nineteenth-century, the Parisian house of Duvelleroy was one of the most renowned fan purveyors in in the western world. Éventailliste (fan maker) Jean-Pierre Duvelleroy (1802-1889) founded his company in 1827.[1] Not only did Duvelleroy oversee the artistry of his namesake designs, he also... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
We often share pieces from the FIDM Museum Special Collections, but did you know our holdings include several design archives? Today we’re giving you an overview of the archives in our collection, featuring personal papers, photographs, clippings, business records, sketches, and assorted ephemera from prominent 20th century fashion figures. Mid-20th century sketch and fabric swatches in the Tina Leser Archive Tina Leser The Tina Leser (1910 – 1986) Archive, donated by the designer’s husband, contains sketches, fabric swatches, and scrapbooks from this mid-century American designer known for her elegant global-inspired aesthetic. Her vibrant painted sketches show several colorway fabric options,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
The FIDM Museum is proud to introduce our newly-launched YouTube channel, home of our extensive collection of video content. Catwalk History slideshow from the 2018 exhibition Capturing the Catwalk: Runway Photography from the Michel Arnaud Archive, now available to watch on YouTube Start your viewing with Curator Kevin Jones’ introduction of the FIDM Museum Collection, then browse the playlists to find videos organized by categories, such as Fashion Photography or Art of Motion Picture Costume Design. Videos in these playlists will take you behind-the-scenes of our exhibitions with additional educational content like slide shows, interviews, and gallery tours. For example,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
In 1966, Women’s Wear Daily highlighted the innovative work of a young New York designer fresh on the scene: Scott Barrie (1941 - 1993). Inspired by Madame Grès and the sinuous gowns of the 1930s, Barrie’s fashions were based on his experiments with draping, resulting in a collection of flattering, flowing dresses and pants that heralded the disco styles to come in the 1970s. He stated, “I have never worked in fabrics like matte jersey before, and I am discovering how exciting they can be...I am going to do things which you haven’t seen anywhere before.”[1] Scott Barrie with Pat... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
We're back with Part Two of Curator Kevin Jones' series on an exciting new acquisition: an exquisite evening ensemble belonging to Queen Alexandra. In this post, Kevin tracks existing documentation of Queen Alexandra's wardrobe and connects it to this newly discovered object. Plus, he turns to royal wardrobe scholar and renowned fashion historian Dr. Kate Strasdin for her expert opinion. Want to learn more about Kate and Kevin's collaboration on this project? Watch our Instagram Live on Friday, May 15 at 11 am PST for the first FIDM Museum Collection Conversation, a Q&A between Kate and Kevin! They will discuss... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
The FIDM Museum is full of fabulous floral fashions - now, you can make your own sartorial stems at home! Inspired by the gorgeous blooms in our collection, we've created a pattern for paper flowers. The materials are simple, but the possibilities are endless; from corsages to centerpieces, headbands to picture frames, it just takes a little glue and a lot of imagination. Use our easy-to-follow template to start, then let your creativity take over. Amp up the scale to make a unique piece of wall art, or try different petal shapes to replicate your favorite posy. Best of all,... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
FIDM Museum Curator Kevin Jones shares a very exciting (and regal!) new acquisition in today's post. In this two-part series, learn how the Museum found this object, collaborated with a colleague across the pond to verify its origins, and its significance to the scholarship of royal dress. ************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************ The FIDM Museum acquires objects for upcoming exhibitions, research projects, and just because they are beautiful. Sometimes years pass before they are displayed in our galleries, but all of our collections are readily available by appointment and, increasingly, online for anyone with an interest in fashion history. We have had garments and... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
You might want to get out your magnifying glass for the next FIDM Museum Family Activity: we've put together a Fashion Designer Word Search! Look for twenty designers listed in the jumble; remember, the names will be spelled out horizontally, vertically, diagonally, and even backwards... Download your copy of the Word Search by clicking this link, and don't forget to share your results with us using the hashtag #FIDMMuseumFamily. If you find yourself stumped, not to worry - we'll release a key on our social media accounts next week. Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
The FIDM Museum was thrilled to acquire an original fan by master fan-maker Sylvain Le Guen, commissioned to accompany a contemporary gown with an Art Deco motif in our collection. Associate Curator Christina Johnson walks us through the process of how this fan came to fruition, from commission to creation. ********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** The FIDM Museum Deco Fan. Commissioned 2019. Commissioned Gift of Mona Lee Nesseth, 2019.5.78AB Fan Reverse It isn’t every day that a museum has the opportunity to commission a couture-quality fan, but thanks to the generosity of Mona Lee Nesseth, the FIDM Museum recently did just that! Created by... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
Motorcycling ensemble, 1930s The FIDM Museum is sad to announce the postponement of the Los Angeles opening of our exhibition Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960, due to health and safety concerns and the current shelter-in-place requirements. We know many of you have been looking forward to Sporting Fashion for a long time. However, we are happy to report that with the support of our partner, the American Federation of Arts (AFA), our tour schedule for the exhibition to six institutions across the United States is still underway, beginning in March 2021. To see the current schedule of museums... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
Today's post was written by Museum Coordinator Leigh Wishner, a key player in organizing our annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition. Leigh shares her tour highlights from a selection of films featured in this year's exhibition - read on for a fascinating, virtual mini-tour of three period productions! ****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** Do you love going to the movies, or streaming them from the comfort of your couch? Then chances are one of the elements that makes your viewing experience exciting are the costumes worn on screen. At the FIDM Museum, we’ve been displaying this facet of filmmaking for over two... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
Time to break out your box of Crayolas - today we're sharing our very first FIDM Museum Coloring Book! Perfect for kids of all ages (including adults who are kids at heart), the book features ten objects from the FIDM Museum collection ready for your artistic prowess. Each garment, accessory, and textile are accompanied by a fun fact and reference photo - but don't let that stop you from experimenting with your own creative interpretation! Click here to download, and remember to share your creations with us on social media using the hashtag #FIDMMuseumFamily. Happy coloring! Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
We are so pleased to release the first set of FIDM Museum Family Activities, our newest resource for children of all ages! These activity sheets encourage kids to observe and interact with objects in our collection, and provide opportunities to ask questions and get creative; it’s a chance to ‘be the curator’ of the FIDM Museum. We look forward to adding to this booklet every week, including coloring pages and craft projects. Collect them all to assemble your very own fashion publication. We are excited to see what you create - please share your masterpieces with us on Instagram, Twitter,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
In the days ahead, all of us at the FIDM Museum understand how important it will be to find connection virtually with your favorite cultural institutions. We are happy to provide several ways to interact digitally with our Museum; in addition to the resources listed below, we are excited to announce that our website and blog are undergoing a full redesign, and will launch later this year with a fresh new look. In the meantime, we invite you to join us online: Start your journey right here on the FIDM Museum Blog, which launched in 2009- a forerunner in the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
Dear FIDM Museum Community, Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition is now closed, as is the FIDM Orange County Campus gallery. The health and safety of our visitors is our priority; this decision was made in adherence to guidelines provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. We look forward to welcoming our guests back to the galleries in May 2020 for the upcoming exhibition Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960. You can always visit us online via our digitized collections, Google Arts & Culture platform, and here on the FIDM... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
Mark your calendar for Friday, March 6: it's time for the FIDM Museum Fashion Council's annual Royal Tea! Held outside in an elegant tent, the afternoon is a chance to meet new friends who share a love fashion history, enjoy a delicious and proper English tea, and experience the hallmark FIDM Museum exhibition The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design. You'll hear from Museum Coordinator and textile expert Leigh Wishner, who will discuss a fascinating 1940s dress in our collection (keep reading for a detailed description of her presentation), followed by a private tour of our film costume exhibition. The... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
Today's post is an in-depth look at a very special new acquisition, written by French scholar Georgina Letourmy-Bordier. Letourmy-Bordier holds a PhD in French History of Art, specializing in Fans. She has organized several exhibitions dedicated to this object, and regularly has articles relating to fan research published. She is currently a fan specialist for several French auction houses, mostly in Paris. Translated from French by Mary Kitson, Secretary of the Fan Circle International ************************************************************************************ The ‘Amphitrite’ Fan: A Masterpiece in the FIDM Museum Collection Most antique fans still in existence today have lost their history. Their origins, their context,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
Beloved classic, haunting origin story, historical satire, epic mob saga, and Hollywood nostalgia: this year's Academy Award nominees for Best Costume Design span the gamut of film genres. One thing they all have in common is a unique aesthetic created by the masterful designers featured in the FIDM Museum's Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition. Oscar nominees Jacqueline Durran (Little Women), Mark Bridges (Joker), Mayes C. Rubeo (JoJo Rabbit), Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson (The Irishman), and Arianne Phillips (Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood) are among the many designers showcased in this annual exhibition, which includes over 100 costumes... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2020 at FIDM Museum Blog
In the mid-20th century, the splendor of the Palace of Versailles, former home to France’s kings, queens, and emperors, had drastically faded. The palace was in extreme disrepair, facing millions of dollars worth of renovations to restore it to its former glory. Cut to 1973: Versailles Chief Curator Gerald Van der Kemp and his wife Florence happened to be on holiday with fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert, a consummate advocate for American design. The three hatched an idea for a benefit to raise funds for the restoration: an elaborate fashion show in the palace’s Royal Opera theater featuring both American and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
On November 15, 2019, Curator Kevin Jones celebrated his 20th year at the FIDM Museum! To mark this milestone, we asked our social media followers what questions they had for Kevin about his career and experiences in the field over the past twenty years. Read on to learn what missed acquisition keeps him up at night, which costume was the most difficult to mount, and where he hopes to see the Museum in twenty years. Kevin at the opening of Designing Hollywood: Sketches from the Christian Esquevin Collection, 2014 This was asked by several people: what is your favorite object... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog