Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fashioning Fashion At LACMA

Men's Timeline
Women's Timeline
Last weekend a friend and I went to see the exhibit Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. They acquired an extensive private collection a few years ago, and this is the first time these pieces have been on display. We took a gallery tour of the exhibit, and the docent promised that more exhibits are being planned for the collection. I hope so!

Here's a few shots of the exhibit - I was surprised at how it was designed to look so temporary, with every piece in its own "packing crate", but I enjoyed that most items weren't behind glass. The lighting was low and photography was only allowed without a flash, so most of the pictures are a little wonky. But that's typical for my blog! ;)
We were surprised
to see several garments
that didn't match
plaids or stripes!

If you can't make it to the exhibit, check out the gallery catalog - it's got wonderful detail images, and even more info on the items than the exhibit had. The quality of the photography is equal to the V&A Fashion in Detail series, although the V&A books have more photos and Fashioning Fashion has more commentary. Plus the catalog has an inside view photo of an 1825 tailcoat - the construction is slightly different from mine, because it has a waist seam, but I'm thrilled to have a reference image finally!
This waistcoat is
long-sleeved - see it poking
out under the jacket cuff?

I snagged a 1/2 price museum membership on Groupon a couple weeks ago, so I'm planning to go back a couple more times before the exhibit closes in March. Who's in for a trip? :)


  1. Thanks for the interesting post. I bought the book of the exhibition recently and was very impressed. Do you think the concept of the display really worked? It's a very unusual way to display the clothes. I agree it is very nice to see them without glass but I'm really not sure about the packing boxes.

  2. I wasn't impressed with the packing boxes, I thought they looked stagey and cheap. But since they're grey, they fade into the background after you start looking at the clothes (which I suppose is the point). They actually worked well for displaying smaller items and groups of things (like a group of men's waistcoats), but for the individual outfits I found it distracting to have everything separated.

    What I did like was that they had mirrors on the walls behind many of the outfits so that you could see the backside. Made me want to jump into the "fitting rooms" and start trying things on! ;)

  3. Very nice post. I don't think I would be a fan of the packing boxes either. The clothes look amazing, of course.

  4. Wow! Looks like an amazing exhibit. Very neat. I went to the Met when I was in NYC last June and caught a women's fashion exhibit 1900-1940.
    The flapper dresses there brought tears to my eyes. So cool to see these clothes up close! :)

  5. This looks wonderful. Im totally up for a trip!

  6. I would totally go with you sometime!