Sunday, December 8, 2013

What's on the December Fashion Exhibition Calendar

With the holiday season in full swing, stepping into a museum can bring a dose of beauty and grace into an otherwise busy schedule. Here are my top three picks of museum exhibitions for December 2013.

A Queer History of Fashion, FIT Museum
This exhibition celebrates the influence of gay and lesbian designers on fashion and traces the origins of cross-dressing to its historical roots. This exhibit, co-curated by Valerie Steele and Fred Dennis, literally blew me away by its originality and the depth of research that underpinned its creation. Since I had expected a show that was contemporary in focus, I was surprised to learn that there is a 300 year history to consider, going back to the 18th century when cross-dressing “mollies,” foppish “macaronis,” and “men milliners” challenged gender roles. "This is about honoring the gay and lesbian designers of the past and present. By acknowledging their contributions to fashion, we want to encourage people to embrace diversity," said Dennis on the FIT Museum site. With an innovative presentation format that I had not seen in the FIT gallery before which moved the focus to the centre of the gallery away from the walls, the exhibit is also visually stunning. The show closes on January 4, 2013, but is also accessible through an exhibition website

Monday, November 11, 2013

On Winning Awards

When this post goes live, I will be at Holt Renfrew about to deliver my speech at the Ryerson University School of Fashion Awards Night. I am not winning an award, but I am the guest speaker, which is typically chosen from the pool of alumni. I assumed it was my job to say some inspirational words, so I decided to share a bit of my own story.

I am not intending to read my remarks, so it might not come out exactly like this. I pre-cleared my speech with the Awards Committee and one of them suggested that maybe I should read it so I wouldn't "miss a syllable". Let's just hope that this is one of those times that my words sound golden.

Ingrid Mida with the Lanvin gown
Photo courtesy of the National Post

Here goes:

I already had a graduate degree when I signed up to do the Master of Arts degree at Ryerson.  But this is the degree I had to work the hardest for. For my MA in Fashion, I juggled the needs of my husband and two teenage boys, the responsibility for my elderly frail mother, work and many other commitments. I also had to deal with my insecurities and doubts about going back to school as a mature student. If truth be told, I almost dropped out at the end of first term, not because I couldn’t handle it, but because I wasn’t sure that it would make any difference in the end. With the encouragement of Dr. Kimberly Wahl, I stuck with it and earned a cumulative GPA of 4.220.  

Perhaps the best part of my story began on February 12, 2012 when Dr. Alison Matthews David opened an unmarked door for me on the seventh floor of the library. Behind that door was a dusty room, packed with boxes, bins, cupboards, and racks of clothing, accessories and fashion ephemera. While most of the other students were reviled by what they saw -- the dust, the mess and the smell -- I saw opportunity. I stepped forward and took on a project that was far bigger, messier, and more difficult than I ever imagined. 

This was not the first time I’d taken on a challenging project, and I’ll admit there have been more bumps in the road than I like to remember. I did not do it for thanks, for an award or for press. What drove me forward was the knowledge that most students do not have the curatorial connections that I do, or the financial means to go anywhere else to do object-based research. Behind that door in the library, there were gowns by Balenciaga, Balmain, Dior, Nina Ricci, Valentino and other designers. There were also Canadian success stories like Ruth Dukas, Claire Haddad, Alfred Sung, Marilyn Brooks and Canadian labels like Holt Renfrew, Eaton's Simpson's, and Morgan's. All of these items had been neglected and forgotten for several years. 

I think I’ve helped ensure that it will be forgotten no more. And, I’m pleased to say that the collection is now safely stored in renovated facilities in Kerr Hall West. The images that you see on the posters behind me are examples of some of my favourite pieces in the collection and I would like to acknowledge that these lovely photographs were taken by Jazmin Welch with the help of Kate O’Reilly. 

There are many more beautiful garments that were not photographed - including a stunning ruby red silk velvet jacket by Christian Dior that just today I matched to a photograph in Harper's Bazaar from September 1949.  - and I want to invite you to come and visit the Fashion Research Centre if you would like to see more. Or if you don’t have time to come in, check out the collection blog and Pinterest sites. Or follow me on twitter. My aim is to be the antithesis of the cranky curator – to make the Fashion Research Centre a welcoming and friendly place where there is no such thing as a stupid question. 

I would like to close by congratulating all of you for your achievements and awards. You should savour this moment and be proud of yourself. Celebrate and enjoy tonight.  I hope you will continue to follow your dreams and live your passions. Make your mark. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Book Review: The Wedding Dress, 300 Years of Bridal Fashion by Edwina Ehrman

Cover image of The Wedding Dress by Edwina Ehrman
Museum collections often receive many offers of evening or bridal wear, since these garments are emblems of the emotional ties that such special event clothing can have for the wearer. Wedding dresses, in particular, are loaded with symbolism and embody memories of that special day. In present times, a wedding gown is typically white and only worn once, but this wasn't always so. Unpacking the complex history of the wedding gown is a book by Edwina Ehrman, Curator of Textiles and Fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum called: The Wedding Dress, 300 Years of Bridal Fashions.

This meticulously researched book draws on the extensive collection of wedding gowns in the Victoria & Albert Museum collection, as well as paintings, fashion plates, photographs, letters, memoirs, newspaper accounts and genealogical records. Not only does this book consider the history of the white wedding dress from 1700 to the present day, it addresses the cultural factors that have influenced and refreshed the stylistic changes over time.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

On this and that...

Dress Collection of the Lousiana State Museum
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2013
I don't usually ramble, but have not written on this blog in over two weeks. It feels like no time and a lifetime all in one. People often ask me how I get so much done, and yet I often wonder where does the time go?

If you missed it, there was an article written by Nathalie Atkinson of the National Post about my work in editing the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection called "Lanvin in the Library". My elderly mother, who was once a librarian, loved the title, and finally understood what it is that I do - to her, I'm like a librarian for old clothes! I've also had lots of questions about whether I ever try on clothes in the collection, and that is something that is strictly forbidden by International Committee of Museums Practice Guidelines. Doing so would be considered highly unethical. I cannot say that I haven't been tempted to do so - who can resist a Dior after all - but I must resist and I do. I've never, ever done so and shudder with horror and yell out "THAT IS NOT ALLOWED" when someone looks like they are going to....

I couldn't be more pleased with the coverage for the Collection. A very generous and kind donor (who prefers to remain anonymous) offered to cover the cost of the cataloguing software for the collection. This the first step in helping to ensure its longevity. Funding at the university is very, very tight, and since all fundraising efforts must be co-ordinated by the Development Office, technically I am not even allowed to ask for money.... But, I believe so very passionately in what I do and just love to help students, and hope and pray that a generous donor will step forward to help ensure this collection lives on.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Engaging Students with Objects

Black silk parasol with cream cordwork embroidery, c.1900-1910.
FRC 1989.02.001
The weather looks lovely in New Orleans for this coming week. I'll be flying down south on Tuesday afternoon to speak at the ITAA Conference on the topic of Engaging Students with Objects: Preliminary Experiments in Reviving a Dormant Fashion Research Collection.

Thanks to the support of Dr. Lu Ann Lafrenz,  a grant from the Learning & Teaching Office at Ryerson University, and the work of two very talented students - Jazmin Welch and Kate O'Reilly - (who worked together to photograph 160 garments, accessories and other artifacts that I selected for this project), I have lots of beautiful images to chose from to illustrate my talk.

Here is the abstract:

Balenciaga Evening Gown, c.1957-1962
FRC1992.01.019 A
Seeing a dress in a photo is a very different experience than feeling the weight of the fabric in hand, examining the details of cut, construction and embellishment, considering the relationship of the garment to the body or searching for evidence of how the garment was worn, used or altered over time. Study collections offer students the opportunity to engage with actual objects, offering physical specimens for design inspiration and material culture studies. Susan Pearce conveyed the narrative power of artifacts when she wrote: “Objects hang before the eyes of the imagination, continuously representing ourselves to ourselves and telling the stories of our lives in ways which would be impossible otherwise”(1992).

Monday, October 7, 2013

120 Years of French Lingerie at the Design Exchange

Our mothers used to spend a lot of time and money on lingerie and I think they were right. Real elegance is everywhere, especially in the things that don't show. 
Christian Dior 

19th century corset
Carolle Patrimony
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2013

Lingerie shapes a woman's body, creating curves or flattening them depending on the fashionable silhouette of the time. In the exhibit of French lingerie at the Design Exchange, curator Catherine Orman combed the archives of French lingerie manufacturers to create a display that traces the history of women's undergarments from the later part of the 19th century to the present day.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fashionable Lingerie and the Lingerie Française Exhibit at the Design Exchange

"Your frocks cannot hang perfectly unless your lingerie is cut to fit you perfectly underneath. Lovely lingerie is the basis for good dressing."

Christian Dior

Toronto's Design Exchange hosts Lingerie Française, a retrospective covering over 100 years of French lingerie  from eleven renowned French lingerie manufacturers — Aubade, Barbara, Chantelle, Empreinte, Implicite, Lise Charmel, Lou, Maison Lejaby, Passionata, Princesse tam.tam and Simone Pérèle. Presented chronologially, the exhibit includes 125 artifacts of luxurious lingerie from corsets to matched bras and pantysets.

This travelling exhibition, which has included stops in Paris, London, Shanghai, Dubai, Berlin and New York, is intended to convey  the influence lingerie products have been exerting on society from the late nineteenth century up to the present day. The exhibition is sponsored by French association PROMINCOR and Défi-La Mode de France.

 Catherine Orman examining the Balmain gown
(That's my hand and hair just visible on the left)
Photo by Robert Ott, 2013
Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of having the curator of this exhibit Catherine Orman come to visit the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection. Although I was so tired (from several very late nights working on my book proposal) that I was barely coherent, we chatted about two recent corset acquisitions for the Collection, as well as some of my favourite gowns, including a Pierre Balmain couture gown called Marie Antoinette from 1955-1959 as well as a Lanvin wedding gown from c.1925-35.

The exhibit at the Design Exchange is on now until October 13, 2013. Admission is free. 

Design Exchange, 234 Bay Street, Toronto. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Memories of a Dress

From London to Chicago.... it feels like a whirlwind. This weekend, I will be attending the Costume Society of America Mid-west conference in order to present my project: Memories of a Dress. 

Peach and cream silk evening gown c.1910-1915
Ryerson Fashion Research Collection
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012
Here is the abstract for my talk:

Clothing is material memory, carrying the imprints of our body, absorbing sweat and stains, and straining with the stress of wear, especially at seams, hems and closure points. Although museums and study collections generally seek to collect items in near-perfect condition, there are stories hidden in the marks and stains of living. In a poetic essay, Peter Stallybrass describes how the clothes of his late colleague Allon White triggered sensory memories. “He was there in the wrinkles of the elbows, wrinkles that in the technical jargon of sewing are called ‘memory’; he was there in the stains at the very bottom of the jacket; he was there in the smell of the armpits” .

The Ryerson University Fashion Research Collection is a repository of several thousand garments and accessories acquired by donation, with the oldest garments dating back to 1860. For several years, this collection was dormant and largely unknown by the student body, and in editing the collection I examined each and every item within the storage facility. It was during the process of handling of each piece that I was haunted by the traces of the makers in the hand-stitching and the turns of the hem, and by the traces of the owners in the faint sweat stains under the arms and the worn patches at the elbows. There is such poignancy in these pieces, because they are still beautiful, but not to a pristine, museum-like standard. Some of these garments are in an advanced stage of decomposition, literally crumbling into dust due to the presence of weighted silk, and embody a duality of beauty and decay, life and death, emptiness and nostalgia, memory and transience. These fragments, which mirror the fragmentary nature of the records, became the source of my curatorial obsession.

In this project called Memories of a Dress, I created a series of photographs focusing on the rare historic garments in the Collection, and manipulated those images to suggest narratives that evoke the concepts of memory, fragility and transience. Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida defined photography as an artistic medium that was intimately linked with death as “a witness of something that is no more”, and this project fixes the process of decomposition in time, marking a moment that has already passed as the items continue on their trajectory into dust. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Introducing the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection Blog

CN Tower Jumpsuit, c.1970s
Ryerson Fashion Research Collection

As you may know, I am the Acting Curator/Collection Co-ordinator for the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection and recently started a Collection blog. This new blog at is part of the effort to create a digital portal into the Collection and was supported by a grant from the Learning and Teaching Office at Ryerson University. I invite you to visit the blog and subscribe by email if you wish to receive the posts that way. I'll be rolling out the 100 key artifacts over the course of the year. Here are some of my favourite dresses, although truth be told there are many more....

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fashion Postcards

18th Century Gowns in Store from the Museum of Costume in Bath
When I visit an exhibition of fashion in the museum, I am often tempted to buy the exhibition catalogue, but sometimes they are so heavy that I know that it will tip my luggage into the overweight category. At those moments, I often will buy a handful of postcards - just to remember the highlights. I have a box full of them and I also occasionally get one in the mail (like the beautiful one from the Museum of Costume in Bath, which I have yet to visit).

Here are some of my favourite fashion postcards.

YSL from YSL Foundation in Paris

The House of VIktor&Rolf, Barbican Gallery in London

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Summary of Fashion Exhibitions

Oyster Dress
Alexander McQueen, Savage Beauty
Photo by Solve Sunsbo Studio courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I recently wrote an essay on Fashion + Curatorial Practice for an upcoming book called Fashion + X - The Medial Interactions of Clothing edited by Dr. Rainer Wenrich. In attempting to figure out how to approach the topic of fashion in the museum, I looked back at the many fashion exhibitions that I've visited and written about since 2008. I thought it would be fun to revisit those here. The links are active and will take you back to my review and more pictures!

Montreal Museum of Fine Art, May 28 - September 28, 2008. 

Flowerbomb Gallery, The House of Viktor&Rolf
Installation Shot by Ingrid Mida 2008

Barbican Art Gallery, London. June 18 - September 21, 2008.

Palace of Versailles, March 31, 2009-June 28, 2009.

FIT Museum, June 17 - September 26, 2009.

Bata Shoe Museum, April - September 20, 2010. 

Blythe House, London. April 28 - June 27, 2010.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

What's on the Fashion Calendar in September 2013?

Other than the rollout of Fashion Weeks around the world, there is a long list of fashion-related events and exhibitions on the calendar for September 2013. My picks for the month include:

Interwoven Globe
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

September 16, 2013: The Opening of Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

This is the first major exhibition to explore the global circulation of design through the trading of textiles from the 16th to the early 19th century through the medium of textiles.  This exhibition features 134 works in order to tell the visual history of design, exploring the interrelationship of textiles, commerce, and taste.

September 18, 2013: The Opening of Farandole: Perspectives on Western Metis Culture at the Textile Museum of Canada.

This show, a combination of textile art, fashion and art installation, promises to be a visual feast -- combining the couture garments crafted by French fashion designer and embroiderer Pascal Jaouen adjacent to a room-sized embroidered textile installation by Franco-Manitoban visual artist Colette Balcaen.

September 20-21, 2013: Uncommon Beauty, The CSA Mid-west Conference in Chicago.

At this annual conference of the mid-west section of the Costume Society of America, I will present "Memories of a Dress".

September 25, 2013: David Bowie at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

On its first stop on its world tour, this exhibition from the Victoria and Albert Museum celebrates the David Bowie's collaborations in the fields of fashion, sound, theatre, art and film. presenting more than 50 stage costumes plus music videos, set designs, photographs and excerpts from films and live performances. Organized thematically, the show immerses visitors in a spectacular and interactive trip through Bowie’s numerous personae and legendary performances, with particular attention paid to his artistic influences. (And of course, if you have not seen it yet,  combine your visit with a tour of Ai Weiwei: According to What? also at the AGO).

September 28, 2013: Alaia at the Palais Galliera, Musee de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.

After being closed for several years, curator Olivier Saillard will reopen the newly renovated galleries of the Palais Galliera with a retrospective of the work of designer Azzedine Alaia. On display will be 70 garments tracing the trajectory of the designer's career set amongst a scenography by designer Martin Szekely. Alaia is known for his highly sculptured dresses that hug every curve, articulated through his mastery of cut.

Notice of copyright: 
All text and images on this blog are the copyright of Ingrid Mida, unless otherwise noted. The copying of posts, images and/or text without proper attribution is violation of copyright and legal action will be pursued.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

College Fashions in Vogue, August 1937

Cover Vogue, Inccorpoating Vanity Fair August 15, 1937
Fashion magazines have used the back to school theme as inspiration for their August issues for many years. I recently found an issue of Vogue dated August 15, 1937 with College Fashions as the theme. 1937 was a turbulent year in history with the Spanish Civil War, the Hindenburg disaster, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and the rise of Stalin. In spite of the unrest, all was rosy on the fashion front.

Published twice a month, there were three Vogue magazines at the time- American, French and British. Edna Woolman Chase was Editor-in-Chief of all three. 

The August 15, 1937 issue of the magazine was 166 pages and features a model wearing a green and red plaid wool dress that is "reminiscent in style of the Grossman jersey dress, adopted by the emanticipated woman of 1918", but with the "casual chic of youth in its pleated skirt and white pique collar." 

The magazine features college themed advertisements as well as editorials on topics like: 
Voted most popular
College endowment
Compulsory for campus
Cut out for college
School directory
Autumn landscape colours
Puzzle parties
Most likely to succeed
Professor Shop-hound

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School, Back to Blogging

Sleeveless dress with Matching Cropped Jacket
Bill Blass for Maurice Rentner, c.1963,
FRC1986.01.01 A+B
I think this dress and jacket ensemble by Bill Blass for Maurice Rentner would be the perfect outfit for me and back to school. The colour is vibrant and the jacket could come off for those warm fall days still to come. Unfortunately, it can never be worn again as a museum artifact, but I love the timeless elegance of early 1960s looks and it makes me smile on what is a dark and rainy day in Toronto.

The scent of fall is in the air. The days are shorter and the nights cooler. I am starting to yearn for the cozy comfort of my cashmere sweaters and wraps.... It must be time to get back to school, back to work.

My summer was busy, with nary a moment of rest or relaxation. I did manage to steal away from work for a few sunny afternoons reading fiction in my backyard, but otherwise I spent many days in the windowless rooms of the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection. Not only did I move the entire collection from the seventh floor of the library, but, among other things, I also supervised two students who photographed about 100 key artifacts in the collection.

It felt like I had no time to write on this blog, especially since I am editor of the Costume Journal, have a bi-weekly column for Worn Through and also have been writing exhibition reviews for Modeconnect, and am supposed to be working on the Fashion Research Collection Blog. Admittedly, I still have some hesitation about writing on this platform after that distressing discovery last fall that much of my content had been copied elsewhere. And yet, it seems that I should be making this blog my priority -- even though many, if not most, of my colleagues in academia dismiss personal blogs as folly. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fashioning the world into art: Ai Weiwei at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Portrait of Ai Weiwei,
Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario 
Ai Weiwei is an artist unlike any other of our time, crafting transgressive installations, assemblages and sculptures that address the complexities of human existence. His artwork is deeply personal and yet universal in meaning in its distillation of culture, politics and power. Although Ai Weiwei invokes social media as part of his creative practice, his sculptural and installation work is imbued with powerful emotions that cannot be conveyed through photos. This is art that you need to be in the same room with to truly appreciate the subtleties thereof. 

Ai Weiwei: According to What?  opens at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto on August 17, 2013 as its sole Canadian venue.

In writing this review, it might appear that I am ignoring my self-imposed rule that an exhibition relate to fashion in some way, and yet it is a little known fact that Ai Weiwei moved to the USA in 1981 to attend Parsons The New School of Design. It was during this New York sojourn, where he found inspiration in the works of Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp. Off to one corner and easy to overlook is one of Al Weiwei's early works called Château Lafite from 1988. This sculpture is made from a pair of Chinese shoes strapped to an empty bottle of Chateau Lafite wine as a play on the word "feet".  In my own reading of it, I might offer that this sculpture could also be read as a critique on the adoption of the western symbols of status by the ruling class of China.

"Château Lafite", by Ai Weiwei 1988, Chinese slippers and Empty Bottle of Wine
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2013
Just as there are fashions in clothing, there are fashions in art. The work of Ai Weiwei might be in fashion, but it is one that will endure the test of time. Thoughtful, powerful and hauntingly beautiful, each piece resonates with the power and emotion of human existence. Three of my favourites included:

Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review: Astor Place Vintage

Cover of Astor Place Vintage Paperback
Within a few pages of beginning to read the novel Astor Place Vintage, I was captivated and unable to tear myself away from the interwoven stories of Amanda and Olive. Written in alternating chapters, the book begins with 39-year old Amanda, a vintage clothing dealer who visits an elderly client and comes across Olive's journal in a trunk of clothing from the early 1900s. As Amanda's own life begins to unravel, she finds comfort within the pages of Olive's journal from 1907, especially since she, like Olive, wants to be independent and self-supporting. Although more than a century separates their lives, Olive and Amanda share a love of New York City and the backdrop of the city's history becomes another character in the story.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Decentralizing the Museum

Art Gallery of Ontario 
As I review my upcoming talk at the Art Gallery of Ontario this afternoon for the Discursive Spaces Conference, I came to the realization that the passions of my life - art, architecture, photography, fashion and the museum - have finally converged. Although it has felt like I have been toiling in obscurity for years, maybe this is exactly what was meant to be....

If you would like to read more about my talk "Decentralizing the Museum", I've posted the extended abstract on Worn Through. Btw, day passes are still available on the AGO website.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Costume Journal: Oh Canada!

Cover of the Costume Journal, Issue 43, Number 1
Art Directed by Marta Kowcun, Photo by Lawrence Cortes, Dress by Some Kong, Model Mikaela M. of Elite Models
Last fall, I agreed to take on the role as editor of the Costume Journal. Although I had more than enough to juggle, it seemed like an opportunity that I could not let pass me by. The Costume Journal is a publication of the Costume Society of Ontario, an organization that was founded in 1971 by Eileen Collard, Alan Suddon, and a passionate cadre interested in dress history. Although the circulation of this publication is relatively small, there are 14 museums and institutions around the world that subscribe to it, including the Royal Ontario Museum, the McCord Museum, and the Ryerson University Library.

After becoming the editor, I read the entire archive of the Journal from its beginnings in 1971, and was surprised to discover that the CSO used to regularly publish original research on dress, including articles by curators at the ROM and other dress historians. This seemed like a golden opportunity to revisit the Journal's roots. As well, there is a void in research on topics relating to Canadian dress and thus the theme of Oh Canada! was born.

In undertaking this redesign, my aim was to make the journal more relevant and modern, finding a niche between an academic journal and a mainstream fashion magazine, and while doing so, still honouring the Costume Journal’s roots. Up-to-date exhibition and event listings are now provided on the CSO website and Facebook page, and also circulated through membership emails.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

VIKTOR & ROLF Dolls at the Royal Ontario Museum

      Dolls are conceptual art objects of strange beauty and desire.
                                                                   (Exhibition Label Viktor&Rolf Dolls at the ROM)

Viktor & Rolf Dolls at the ROM, Photo I by Ingrid Mida 2013
Ever since I first laid eyes on the Viktor & Rolf dolls in 2008 at the Barbican Gallery in London, their fashionable presence has haunted me. I've studied the exhibition catalogue repeatedly, read and reread Freud's essay on the uncanny, undertaken research on fashion dolls and used them as inspiration for my own creative journeys into the essence of the uncanny as it relates to fashion. For these reasons, I've been counting the days to their arrival in Toronto as part of the Luminato Festival.

Viktor & Rolf Dolls at the ROM, Photo II by Ingrid Mida 2013
On Sunday, June 9, I visited the ROM, expecting line ups out the door.... I was utterly surprised to find the gallery almost devoid of visitors, and the few that wandered in seemed not to know what they were looking at. I overheard several people asking the gallery attendant for information on what was on display.... Quel horreur!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The June Fashion Calendar

I cannot recall another time when there have been so many fashion related events in Toronto, which means that, for once, I don't have to get on a plane to get my fashion fix. Here are a list of upcoming fashion related events in Toronto for June 2013.

June 9 - 30: VIKTOR&ROLF DOLLS at the ROM as part of the Luminato Festival
In this presentation at the Royal Ontario Museum, about 25 hand-crafted porcelain dolls styled to replicate runway looks are dressed in scaled-down versions of Viktor&Rolf couture designs. Initially presented in 2008 at the Barbican Art Gallery in London, England in 2008, these dolls have been set on a specially crafted miniature runway in the ROM's Thorsell Spirit House.  The exhibition is free and open during regular Museum hours. I saw this exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery in 2008 and wrote a post at that time and have written about the dolls as part of a creative process journal project. For these reasons, I am really looking forward to having another look at these uncanny incarnations.

June 9: Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker CultureAn Illustrated Talk by Senior Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack at the Bata Shoe Museum 
Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack will discuss the history of the sneaker and the rise of sneaker culture in becoming the footwear of choice for many. My review of the exhibition was published on Modeconnect and my behind-the-scenes visit and interview with Elizabeth Semmelhack is presented on Worn Through.

June 21 at 330 pm: Decentralizing the Museum: The Ryerson Fashion Research Collection 
The Discursive Spaces Conference at the Art Gallery of Ontario (June 20-23) considers the "integration of art, design, and architecture in the creation of memorable and immersive museum experiences, while balancing the public’s expectations of self-directed expression and engagement".  In my joint presentation with architect Guela Solow, we will talk about our shared vision for the remodelling of the space to house the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection. In this conceptual plan,  the barriers of the museum have been disintegrated by integrating the collection within the university environment. Advance tickets are required for this conference and day passes are now available.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The May Fashion Calendar

Punk:Chaos to Couture at the Met Costume Institute
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2013

Museums are my happy place and May is museum month!

The Costume Institute at the Met sets the standard for all other fashion exhibitions and this year's show Punk: Chaos to Couture will likely be another blockbuster, especially with all the recent criticism and controversy.

Read my review on Worn Through here:  I have to say that I never expected that in liking this exhibition, I was taking a controversial stance. 

Louboutin Sneakers at the Bata Shoe Museum
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2013
Another unusual choice of subject matter for a fashion exhibition is the sneaker, which is featured in the Bata Shoe Museum's exhibit Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture. My review will be featured on Modeconnect

Notice of copyright: 
All text and images on this blog are the copyright of Ingrid Mida, unless otherwise noted. The copying of posts, images and/or text without proper attribution is violation of copyright and legal action will be pursued.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The April Fashion Calendar

Alexandra Kim: A Royal Presentation
April is a busy month for art and fashion related events. Here are selected highlights on the calendar!

April 3, 2013: Meet the Artists: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Internationally renowned artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller share insights into their work and collaborative practice at 7 pm at the AGO.

April 5, 2013: Behind the Scenes at the Costume Institute. A talk by Chris Paulocik at the Royal Ontario Museum from 4-6 pm, presented by Friends of Textiles & Costumes.

April 10, 2013: Fashion Crimes. A panel discussion at the ROM on what it means to be Canadian in the fashion industry. BIG Business, BIG Pressure, BIG Names and BIG Hype.

Curator's Tour of Shine. Textile Museum of Canada. 630 pm. An exhibition tour that highlights the TMC collection as well as the work of contemporary artists Carmelo Arnoldin (Toronto), Ghost of a Dream (New York), Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky (San Francisco/Toronto).

April 11, 2013:  Mass Exodus at Ryerson University School of Fashion.

April 13, 2013:   A Royal Presentation: Curating the dress collection at Kensington Palace. A talk by Alexandra Kim at the Textile Museum of Canada at 130 pm, presented by the Costume Society of Ontario.

April 17-18, 2013: The Launch of Europeana Fashion - online digital platform - in Florence.

April 19, 2013: The Opening of Musée du costume et du textile du Québec (MCTQ) in Montreal.

April 29, 2013: Lectures related to the Exhibition Fashion, Impressionism and Modernity at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, 3-5 pm, including a talk by Valerie Steele on the corset.

Notice of copyright: 
All text and images on this blog are the copyright of Ingrid Mida, unless otherwise noted. The copying of posts, images and/or text without proper attribution is violation of copyright and legal action will be pursued.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Where to find me now

Dear friends,

It has been a while since I've posted here. After much of my blog was copied onto other sites, I lost some of the joy of sharing my research, reviews and opinions on this forum. I've been tweeting, posting links on the Costume Society of Ontario Facebook page and writing articles for Modeconnect. I also accepted the post of Fashion in the Museum columnist for Worn Through where I am writing a bi-weekly column. I've never been busier or more in demand, and yet something feels like it is missing.....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fashion Exhibitions to See in 2013

Not to be missed in the winter/spring of 2013 are the following exhibitions of fashion in the museum:

Fashioning Fashion, European Dress in Detail 1700-1915 
Paris, Les Arts Décoratifs, December 13, 2012 – April 14, 2013

Museum Link:

My review:

Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity

Paris, Musée d'Orsay, ends January 20, 2013
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, from 26 February to 27 May 2013
Chicago, Art Institute, from 25 June to 22 September 2013

Museum Links:
Musée d'Orsay:
Metropolitan Museum of Art:
Art Institute of Chicago:

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, from November 3, 2012 until fall 2013

Museum Link:

My review:

Notice of copyright: 
All text and images on this blog are the copyright of Ingrid Mida, unless otherwise noted. The copying of posts, images and/or text without proper attribution is violation of copyright and legal action will be pursued.