Monday, October 6, 2014

Exposed Lingerie and Dance & Fashion

I visited the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City for two wonderful exhibits last week.  Exposed A History of Lingerie traced intimate apparel from the eighteenth century to the present.  It was a well-curated collection of lovely undergarments beginning with a corset and ending with an astonishing sapphire blue bra and panty set from La Perla.  The range of the collection shows that lingerie can run the gambit from completely functional to impossibly alluring and frivolous.  I've always believed that lingerie is the last bastion of pure femininity and the last place where a woman's wardrobe still includes ribbons, laces and fripperies.  The fact that lingerie was an important component of a bride's trousseau was touchingly highlighted with a beautiful nightgown created by a bride's mother.  Its embellished satin bows remind the viewer that this is actually a seductive gown for a wedding night ...but lovingly festooned by Mother.  The bride entered her marriage with both a beautiful garment and her mother's blessings.

The second exhibit Dance & Fashion was larger and explored the remarkable synergy between dance and modern fashion.  As a lover of ballet, I was thrilled to view the pointe shoes worn by Margot Fonteyn. The exhibit clearly established the connection it intended with dance-inspired fashion displayed alongside intricately made costumes.  I also learned the origin of the ubiquitous ballet flat, a shoe designed during WWII to wear with designer Claire McCardell's dresses as heeled shoes were being severely rationed.

On the way home, I brainstormed ways to add more romantic balletic touches to my own wardrobe with surplice tops, wrap sweaters and black leggings.  I also thought it would be a good time to re-read my old favorite childhood book on ballet called To Dance To Dream. 

You may wonder what good exhibits like this does for a modern woman who exists at the speed of light.  Well, the unbridled beauty feeds the soul and fills a well that is often low on pleasure.  It causes me to slow down and simply look for the sheer wonder of what the human hand can create.  The exhibit halls were a cooled hushed oasis filled with mystery and shadows.  And like any good exhibit, it was a mini-trip through a looking glass to the past where I often meet someone I know but miss...me.



2 comments:

  1. What a lovely exhibit and write-up! I love how you linked it to your ballet-loving self and will let it be more than a fading memory...it will inspire your winter wardrobe! What a marvelous idea. Well-done, dearie!

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  2. Lucky you for getting to take in these two exhibitions. And it's really special that they meant so much to you personally.

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