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Costume Society of America

Costume Society of America, events, exhibitions

Upcoming SF Bay Area Event: Bulgari Jewelry, Jan. 11

San Francisco Bay Area people, and those into shiny things, should consider joining the Costume Society of America Western Region’s event:

The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond 1950–1990 
de Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Saturday January 11, 2014

Sautoir, 1969. Platinum with sapphires and diamonds. Chain, Pendant/Brooch. Formerly in the collection of Elizabeth Taylor. Bulgari Heritage Collection. copywright Barrella Studio Orizzonte.

Here’s the event description:

This exhibition The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950–1990 at the de Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will highlight jewelry that defined a pivotal period in Italian design, and includes many pieces from the personal collection of Elizabeth Taylor and other celebrities. Amanda Triossi, a jewelry historian, author, consultant to luxury goods companies, and curator of the Bulgari Heritage Collection, curated the exhibit.

Our private guide will enrich our gallery tour as we hear about the company and the jewelry. Bulgari notably began to create its own trademark in jewelry in the 1960s by embracing boldly-colored combinations of gemstones, use of heavy gold, and forms derived from Greco-Roman classicism, the Italian Renaissance, and the 19th-century Roman school of goldsmiths. The company helped to develop a look that would come to be known as the “Italian school” of jewelry design. Pieces in the exhibition display the jeweler’s eclectic creativity and invention during this period.

Bulgari’s successful cultivation of prominent patrons and movie stars like Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, and perhaps most notably, Elizabeth Taylor, has long been a key aspect of the jeweler’s reputation. To help explore the cultural context in which these objects were made, the exhibition includes innovative uses of sketches, photographs, and other archival materials that help to reveal a fascinating intersection of celebrity, design, and fine craftsmanship.

At 1:00pm in the Koret Auditorium there will be a free public lecture on the Bulgari exhibit.

The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950–1990 continues the Fine Arts Museums’ strong track record of exhibitions highlighting the work of decisive figures and movements in the world of fashion and design including: Cartier in America, Balenciaga and Spain, Yves Saint Laurent and The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, among others.

Adjacent to the Bulgari Exhibit, in the Textile Arts Education Gallery, will be an exhibit entitled, Lace: A Labor of Luxury. CSA Member and associate at the de Young Textile Arts Department, Kristen Stewart, curated this exhibit and will guide us through it. Portraits of fashionable lace-wearing men and women from the Achenbach collection of prints will be exhibited alongside fine examples of lace from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries to support a chronological narrative of successive lace capitals and coups. The Education Gallery also displays textile study pieces for close examination.

If you’re interested in attending, you need to register by January 3rd!

I’ll be there — will you?

Costume Society of America, events

Costume Society of America Symposium

I am back from the Costume Society of America symposium in Phoenix. The CSA is the national organization for researchers of the history of dress — lots of academics and museum professionals, as well as some reenactors and theatrical costumers too. This was my first time attending the symposium — it was quite interesting and fun, altho a very different animal from Costume College/Con (naturally).

Some of the highlights for me were:

Visiting the Phoenix Art Museum’s Medievalism exhibition. Lots of 20th century costumes, a few earlier ones. There were some really amazing pieces, including a 1916 suit that made me REALLY want to do that era, a gorgeous yellow sheer Regency dress with perfect brown ribbon trim, a green 1840s dress that had the teeniest stitches I’ve ever seen (it had to be like 20 stitches per inch at least), and more.

Two professional development sessions (one on using theory in research, the other on writing) were very helpful, and gave me some good ideas for my current project on French appropriation of Turkish dress in the 18th c.

Lots of interesting presentations, most notably (to me):

  • Anne Bissonnette (Kent State Univ. Museum) and Harold Koda (Costume Institute at the Met) presented on exhibitions they’d created. There was a very fascinating discussion afterwards with Koda about the Costume Institute’s funding, as well as the transfer of the Brooklyn Museum’s costume collection.
  • Kelly Mohs Gage (Univ. of Minnesota) presented on African slave women’s dress in 19th c. Rio de Janiero. She used photographs and ads for runaway slaves published in a local newspaper, and it was really interesting to hear how they mixed European-style dress with African adornment, and how that changed in later generations.
  • Christina Bates (Canadian Museum of Civilization) spoke about nursing uniforms in late 19th/early 20th c. Canada, discussing the development of the uniforms and the various related gender issues — interesting to me because of its parallels with the research I’ve done on college women in the 1920s (who weren’t wearing uniforms, but had similar issues going on).
  • Jo Paoletti (Univ. of Maryland) talked about the feminization of pink. As someone who LOVED pink when I was little and now refuses to wear it (because of it’s association with VERY traditional femininity), it was interesting to hear how late that association developed (1950s) and how fluid it was.

I got to meet and chat with a number of costume researchers whose work I admire – I sat next to Patricia Cunningham (who has written on dress reform, among other work) on the bus to the Phoenix Art Museum, and watched Candace Kling work on ribbonwork during a presentation and then chatted with her about 18th c. trimmings afterwards. Mela Hoyt-Heydon (an amazing theatrical costumer who usually teaches at Costume College) was there and was kind enough to introduce me around to a number of interesting people.

One thing I’d like to participate in at a future symposium is the Angels Project, where they organize volunteers to help out at a local museum’s costume collection — generally with cleaning, storing, cataloging, etc. They take people of all skill levels, so this would be a great way to check out museum work for a day!

There is a marketplace, which is only open one day — there was a vintage clothing dealer with some stunning offerings, altho I restrained myself by chanting, “But do you NEED it?” I did pick up a museum catalog from one of the book dealers.

To see the full run-down on the symposium’s offerings, including the many tours (which I didn’t participate in), check out this pdf.

Next year is in Kansas City MO, and if I’m not in Europe, I’ll be there!

Costume Society of America, events

Costume Society of America Symposium

Tomorrow I am off to Phoenix for the Costume Society of America’s annual symposium. This will be my first time attending, and I’m hoping it will be really interesting! I’m really excited about getting to see the Phoenix Art Museum’s medievalism exhibition – if I can take photos, I will. I’ll give a full run down on the conference when I get back. I’m debating whether to go to Boca Bargoons, which is about 15 min. away from where I’m staying – as I’m always on the hunt for interesting fabrics. Has anyone been to the Scottsdale location – is it worth the trip?