Last night's lecture by Mary Doering at Dumbarton House was excellent and a wonderful accompaniment to the current exhibit there, Preparing for the Ball (see these previous posts). Mary discussed a number of interesting topics relating to the development of textile design and production, trade, women's and men's fashion, women's and men's everyday dress, and hygiene. I ended up feeling sad that it was only an hour long. I would have loved to hear her delve more into menswear and the shift from visual ostentation to luxury defined by quality of material and construction, which began in the eighteenth century and became a definitive change after the French Revolution. Mary did not focus solely on the United States, but explored the trade network that surrounded America and western Europe during this time (England, France, India, China, the Carribean as a port, etc.). Textile trading and manufacturing really drove global trade and technology in many ways: the British, for example, tried to create a cotton weaving and printing industry to rival India's, but struggled to make their dyes colorfast (a trick the Indians had mastered by understanding mordants, the metallic compounds added to many dyes that make them bond to their substrate textiles). Every garment and textile from this time period is a mystery to interpret, since they could have been woven in one place, printed in another, sewn in yet another, and then sold somewhere else.
On a different topic, I am very enamored of John Galliano's Resort 2010 collection for Dior. While I'm not crazy about the model's hair, the clothing is very reminiscent of traditional 1950s Dior daywear. It may not be the most avant-garde of collections, but I would love to wear pretty much everything in it. Some of the pieces could be interpreted as a little mature, but I think it's all downright classy.
What do you think? Do you like the collection or is it too stodgy for you? What fashion events are you planning on attending this summer?