As we read about haute couture, and I reveled in the gloriousness of this practice of hand fabricated garments, I recalled one of my favorite opulent gowns from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection: this Egyptian Revival 1912 gown by a New York dressmaker that went by the moniker Simcox. I discussed in this garment in my presentation on Egyptomania and fashion for the Common Threads symposium last spring. This piece predates the discovery and opening of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, but it was from the year that the famous bust of Nefertitti was unearthed. The beaded embroidery embellishing the gown contains several Egyptian motifs, especially on the front bodice.
Yesterday I went to the Art Institute of Chicago‘s exhibit “Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity.”
By pairing the fashion of the day with French paintings by Impressionists and others from the late 19th century. So in addition to an exquisite collection of paintings by Tissot, Monet, Manet, Renoir, and lesser known Impressionists with the dresses, suits and accessories, the curators illuminate the influence of fashion on art. So many of the dresses, hats, shoes and purses were as exquisite as the paintings.
The quotations and information posted throughout the exhibit were enlightening and I liked how one gallery displaying works set outside was decorated with artificial grass and park benches. A recording of chirping birds added to the park feel.
The exhibit included many fashion plates, illustrations of outfits in 19th century magazines. I’d never known that fashion plate had this etymology. I usually…
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