Window Dressing or Museum exhibition?

China Chic, New York, 2016 Two dresses with example of original work that inspired their pattern. I learn just as much (or even more) from this straight-forward exhibition as I do a window dressed multiple-mannequin presentation.

I am not one to criticize French taste – I usually hold it in the highest regard. However, the current Dior exhibition in Paris is making me think that maybe they don’t always get it right.

A trend has been building in the museum field for twenty years now, led primarily by the Met in New York, for making fashion exhibitions into installations that look more like Bergdorf Goodman windows — but too much window dressing can make forests out of trees. Perhaps I am more of a purist – I am happy with a good clean presentation of salient artifacts so I can appreciate every item and understand its placement in the exhibition and interpretation in the text. Sometimes multiples are a great way to make a point but quantity very quickly overpowers quality when used unnecessarily, and presentation overpowers content when the settings and props overpower the artifacts.

Would any other art form be subject to this kind of window dressing? Would paintings by Picasso be shown suspended from the ceiling like a flock of geese? Would old masters be reframed in bubblegum pink plastic frames? in the mid 1990s, the Art Gallery of Ontario created a Victorian picture gallery to show how paintings used to be presented, from floor to ceiling – it was a great way to show their, frankly, second-rate art because the presentation was more interesting than the art itself.

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Glossary – Welsh Comb

Thomas Law Hodges, c. 1794-1795

According to Online Etymology Dictionary, a Welsh comb dates from 1796 and means using your thumb and four fingers to comb your hair.

Considering most men had doffed their wigs by the mid 1790s and were sporting their own hair, which was often long, it would have been difficult not to run your fingers through your own hair… but why blame the Welsh?

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More WTF (What the Fashion) Shock Chic

This is an excellent example of a wearable art collection that presents itself as a provocative fashion idea, but is not intended to be taken as a serious fashion direction. These collections get far more attention than they warrant, mostly due to social media. This collection, which pretends to be a serious suggestion for transgender chic, isn’t made well and doesn’t present any new ideas not already seen in the Rocky Horror Picture Show over 40 years ago. Few designers can make successful ‘shock chic’ collections. The few who can make it work have superior design skills and technical prowess (McQueen, Halpern, Viktor & Rolf…)

Latest Menswear Collection by Spanish Fashion Label Palomo

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Fashion in Song – Blue Jeans

In Honour of the Canadian Tuxedo here are 17 songs about Blue Jeans for Canada’s Sesquicentennial:

Venus in Blue Jeans, 1962

Blue Jeans, 2012

Forever in Blue Jeans, 1978

Dem Jeans, 2006

Blue Jean Blues, 1975

Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk, 1982

Old Blue Jeans, 2007

Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On, 1993

Dirty Denim, 2002

Blue Jean Baby, 2013

Blue Jean Bop, 1956

Blue Jeans, 2009

Blue Jeans, 1996

Jeans On, 1977

Levi Jeans, 2012

Blue Jean Boy, 1958

My Jeans, 1985

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Fashion in Song – Boogie Shoes (1975)

Released in July 1975 on KC and The Sunshine Band’s first album, the song also appeared in the the film Saturday Night Fever in 1977.

Girl, to be with you is my favorite thing, yeah
Uh huh, and I can’t wait til I see you again,
Yeah, yeah, ah ha ah ha
I want to put on my my my my my
Boogie shoes
Just to boogie with you, yeah

I want to it it ’til the sun comes up
Uh huh, and I want to do it ’til
I can’t get enough, yeah, yeah
I want to put on my my my my my
Boogie shoes
Just to boogie with you,

I want to put on my my my my my
Boogie shoes just to boogie with you
Oh yeah, boogie down boogie down
I want to put on my my my my my
Boogie shoes
Just to boogie, with you, yeah

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Fashion Humour…

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That Time the French Aristocracy Was Obsessed With Sexy Face Stickers

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Vintage cleaning tips: Cleaning lace

I run across a variety of cleaning tips in old magazines etc. and I am sure some of them are good…  Here is one from the back of a cigarette card that I doubt I will be trying anytime soon, but maybe it works:

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Beefcake with your cheesecake

Sivil’s Drive-In, Dallas, Texas, April 1940

A recent article on Messy Nessy brought up a little known piece of sexist uniform history – beefcake carhops. According to Paula Bosse of Flashback Dallas in the late 1930s “Women were dressing in scanty outfits, hula skirts, midriff-baring costumes, to serve drive-in customers,” and so the owner of one of those restaurants in Dallas had the idea of appealing to female customers by putting men in scanty serving uniforms too. The hunky male server trend was short-lived though, in part because of the onset of WWII with young men enlisting to serve their country rather than hamburgers.

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The Underpinnings Museum

I just discovered a new museum of underwear. The Underpinning Museum was founded late last year in England and is currently only online but they do pop-up exhibitions and events that are listed on their site (

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