Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Unusual Coat at Anderson House and Japanese Fashion at the Textile Museum

This Friday at 12:30, I'm giving a free 20-minute "Lunch Bite" presentation at the Society of the Cincinnati Museum at Anderson House on Massachusetts Ave., where I recently completed an internship. I'm going to focus on an object in their collection, a coat belonging to an original member of the Society that dates from around the turn of the 19th century. It's very unusual in its materials and construction and has led me down an interesting path, on which I'll elaborate more in my talk. I'll also put the coat in context and talk a little bit about men's summer clothing around this time period.

There are some very interesting things happening at the Textile Museum, just around the corner from Anderson House on S street. I've interned there in the past as well, and I'm a huge fan of this museum. Their Textile Learning Center, on the second floor, has a lot of hands-on features that explore the basics of textiles. Currently on exhibit is a group of their recent acquisitions, and opening in October is an exhibit of contemporary Japanese fashion from the collection of Mary Baskett, focusing on seminal designers Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo (of Comme des Garçons) and Yohji Yamamoto. These three designers have been at the head of avant-garde fashion design for the past thirty years and continue to revolutionize the field.

This brings me to a very exciting event taking place from October 16 through 18: the Textile Museum's Fall symposium, titled "From Kimono to Couture: The Evolution of Japanese Fashion." I know I sound like a radio ad for the Museum's fall events calendar, but I think that this symposium is going to be a great commentary of research, analysis, and commentary from some very eminent scholars in the field. Harold Koda, the Curator in Charge at the Met's Costume Institute, is presenting, as well as Sharon Takeda, Senior Curato and Head of the Costume and Textile Department at LACMA (the LA County Museum of Art, which has an excellent collection and great online database). At the end of the Sunday session is a "show-and-tell" of Japanese textiles, where participants can bring in a textile from their collection, which I think is a nice idea to get those who aren't presenting to be involved in the program.

It is a rather expensive event- if you register before October 2nd, it's $220 for Museum members and $265 for non-members, and $180 for students. Being underemployed and no longer a student, I will probably have to live vicariously thorough my colleagues at the Museum, but I would highly recommend that you attend if you can! Complete information is available here.

First photograph by Al Fenn, 1952, Life. Second photograph by Michael Rougier, Life.

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