Field Trip: Native Fashion Now at the Peabody Essex Museum

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Let’s go on a little field trip, shall we?

Earlier this month I visited the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA to see Native Fashion Now.  The show runs from November 21, 2015-March 6, 2016.  If you plan to see it, check with your library to find out if they offer passes that will discount or eliminate the admission cost for you.

The show covers a wide range of designers.  Some are using traditional techniques, materials, and imagery in completely new ways and others focus on preserving tradition.  There are also questions within the exhibit about cultural appropriation.

Here are some of the pieces I found most interesting.  When possible, I’ll have the artist’s card describing the work below each picture.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

The ones below were some of my favorites.  I liked the surface treatment of the fabric and the use of imagery on these dresses.  It was something I hadn’t seen before.  They made me rethink the idea of vintage dresses (even though these weren’t vintage when they were made).

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

I loved the level of detail in each little figure or image on this belt as well as the variety of materials that were used.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

The way these three designers used their materials of choice so creatively was really inspiring.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

I really loved this dress.  It isn’t by a native designer (it’s by Isaac Mizrahi).  At this point, the exhibit brings up the issue of cultural appropriation.  It gave me a lot to think about.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Here is an Iris Apfel ensemble.  If you’ve seen the documentary about her, you’ll know that she donated a good amount of her clothing collection to the Peabody Essex Museum.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Can you imagine the amount of work it took to create these boots?

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

This sign explains both the Iris Apfel ensemble and the boots.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

This artist extended native imagery beyond fashion into an area that has a lot of cross-pollination with street style:  skateboarding.

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

Native Fashion Show, Peabody Essex Museum

It was an enjoyable and thought-provoking exhibit.  It gave me new ideas and broadened my understanding of fashion.

Before we go, let’s have some recommendations.  THIS IS FUN NOW!

  • Have you ever read the series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith?  It’s what my mystery-loving friend describes as a “cozy”.  It’s not gross, graphic, or terrifying, but focuses on the work and relationships between several recurring characters.  Mma Ramotswe solves mysteries in Botswana with her faithful and opinionated assistant Mma Makutsi.  There are a number of books in the series, so if you like it, you’ll have plenty to read.
  • Smoked paprika.  It’s good.  Try it on eggs.
  • I found this on the Closet Case Files blog, and I had to repost it.  It’s all about activewear…and how inactive we often are when we’re wearing it.  This is your dose of humor for the week:

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4 responses »

  1. Thank you for this wonderful field trip! Such wonderful pieces that makes me think about the creative effort I put into my makes. I sew quick projects and have been contemplating slowing down to put dedicated work into art pieces. What they will be I don’t know but this exhibit encourages that train of thought.
    I love the number 1 detective agency series! It is really hilarious and well written.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so hard to decide between quick gratification and longer work. When I make fine art, I feel ok putting in the longer hours, if it serves my purpose, because the artwork should last (in theory) because it’s not being handled. Making things for daily use (which I often find I like even better than making fine art) is so different because it’s hard to decide between what seems like the inherent goodness of making long projects with all their thought, time, and technique and making quick projects. Daily use projects tend to wear out or styles or your size may change. I still think there is a ton of value in making the more artistic pieces (and it’s fun), but it’s hard to know they will wear out. Despite that, though, I agree that I would like to put more creativity into my pieces. I really do think that good fabric and distinctive details set clothing apart as special over and above basics without distinguishing features.

      Like

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