1932. It’s almost chilly here in the Western North Carolina mountains so maybe fall really is on the way. Here’s my dream hiking ensemble: snappy pullover sweater, rolled cuff trousers, high laced boots, and a hat that’s part tam, part beret with hair neatly tucked away inside. Was she posing, or simply caught in a pensive moment?
And now for some news…
- There are Bonnie Cashin dresses, and then there is this dress.
- Designer Arthur McGee who started his career with Charles James and went on to lead the design team at sportswear giant Bobbie Brooks has died. McGee was mentor to many other Black American designers.
- Next month the Iris and Carl Apfel Gallery at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA will open.
- Also coming up in September, Hindman Auctions will be selling Olivia de Havilland’s collection of Dior couture.
- Yes, children, there was lots of tie-dye and fringe at Woodstock.
- Mary Jo’s Cloth Shop established in 1951 and my own personal Nirvana, is closing.
- Prince Albert’s dressing gown is returning to the royal collection.
- President Obama wants the hat Aretha wore at his first inauguration.
- Adding meaning to travel through historical dress.
- A good defense of photo-taking in museums.
When I first started writing this blog around fifteen years ago, most museums I visited did not allow visitors to take photos, so I carried a sketchbook to record the highlights of fashion exhibitions. Today, most museums do allow photos, due mainly, I’d think, to social media. When people started documenting every small detail of their lives on Facebook and Twitter (and later Instagram) museums very quickly realized that every post on these sites was free advertising.
There are still plenty of people who object to the practice, saying that the photo has become more important than the experience. To some degree I agree with that thought. We’ve all seen people rushing through a museum or historic site, camera in hand, ready to get that perfect Instagram shot.
I try to use a strategy when visiting an exhibition that I want to photograph for this blog. Ideally, I view the entire exhibition, reading the show notes and absorbing the message the curator is trying to put out there. Only after looking and thinking and studying, I go back and take photos of what best tells the story.
This strategy works best where an exhibition is located all in one area of the site or museum. Often, in house museums like the Biltmore Estate, it’s just not reasonable to take the photos separately from the first viewing. Things are just too scattered about. But I do find I learn more and see more when I have the opportunity to look at an object twice.