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Today's blog post is written by Donald and Joan Damask Summer Study Grant recipient Kirstin Purtich, who is currently studying fashion and textile conservation at the Fashion Institute of Technology. After completing an MA in decorative arts, design history, and material culture at the Bard Graduate Center and spending several years organizing and contributing to exhibitions, Kirstin is getting back to fashion history research—and is happy to be working directly with objects again. This fall she is pursuing several conservation treatment projects, one of which will become the basis for her qualifying paper at FIT. ********************************************************************** Over the course of... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at FIDM Museum Blog
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Today's blog post is written by Nandini Gopalarathinam, recipient of the Santamaura Summer Study Grant. Nandini Gopalarathinam is a fashion professional turned aspiring fashion historian and archivist. After years of working as a visual director for brands like Donna Karan and Anthropologie, she decided to take a deeper dive into into the historical, cultural, and social contexts for fashion. Currently, she is completing her final year of the dual degree M.A./M.S. program at New York University in Costume Studies and Library Science. Given her eclectic background, Nandini is most interested in exploring the intersection of global culture and trends in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 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. 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 exist without their incredible dedication! Join us... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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Currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion reminds us of the noteworthy "futuristic" fashion in our collection. This post from 2014 explores how the fascination with space exploration and the moon landing was reflected through the clothes people wore in the 1960s and beyond. ************************************************************************** Fashion landed on the moon long before man did. In the early 1960s, in the throes of the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union, French couture designers like Pierre Cardin, Andre Courrèges, and Paco Rabanne sent so-called “Space Age” fashions down the Paris runways. These... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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British fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes was born on September 19, 1940! To celebrate, we're sharing a look back at Rhodes' career - make sure to scroll to the end to see pictures from her recent visit to the FIDM Museum! ************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** Turning the corner into our Acquiring Beauty exhibition, we often hear the ‘oohs and ahhs’ of visitors greeted with an impressive sight: a magnificent Zandra Rhodes pleated gold lamé ensemble fit for a queen. The majestic gown does indeed have a British royal background – a fitting provenance for the charming pink-haired designer who cites her home country... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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In recent years, tragedies in garment factories have made consumers more aware than ever that clothing manufacturing comes at a cost. Campaigns such as "Who Made My Clothes" put on by the activist organization Fashion Revolution asks both individuals and corporations to take more responsibility in ensuring safe and fair conditions for garment workers. In this post, we look at the history of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which throughout the 20th century represented thousands who worked in the women's garment industry. ********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** In honor of Labor Day, we want to recognize one of the largest labor organizations in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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On Saturday, August 17, the FIDM Museum and Television Academy put the spotlight on design for the annual Art of Outstanding Television Costume Design exhibition. This year, the exhibition’s theme is Design On-Demand. Being creative is no easy business, but the featured designers make developing their characters’ distinctive styles look effortless. How do they do it? With remarkable behind-the-scenes teamwork, in-depth research, and boundless imagination! The museum display celebrates the remarkable diversity of the contemporary television landscape, highlighting a variety of 2018-2019 Emmy Award®-nominated and fan-favorite shows. However you watch your must-see TV—on cable or network stations, streaming platforms, or... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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This week on FIDM Museum social media, we're sharing our favorite animal-themed fans painted by artist Adolphe Thomasse at the turn of the 20th century, all gifts of fan connoisseur and generous donor Mona Lee Nesseth. In this edition of Confessions of a Curator, Associate Curator Christina Johnson treats us to a history of dogs in fashion, spurred by our 1903 Thomasse puppy fan made by Maison Duvelleroy. Enjoy! ********************************************************************************************************************************** Fan, 1903 Maison Duvelleroy Adolphe Thomasse, artist Gift of Mona Lee Nesseth, 2016.975.12 Anyone who really knows me knows I love dogs. I always have—ever since I was a child.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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This week on our FIDM Museum social media platforms, we're sharing the amazing archive resources housed in our Special Collections. We've been lucky to have extremely talented students help us process those archives so they are accessible for future researchers. In this post, former intern Sandy Lu explains how she utilized her Master of Library and Information Studies training at UCLA to organize the Maurice Levin Archive, a collection of personal and professional papers belonging to a prominent mid-century California designer. ***************************************************************************************************************************** Think of mid-century California style, and you’re likely to think of bright and breezy leisurewear, surf culture, and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2019 at FIDM Museum Blog
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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 Jul 14, 2019 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