Friday File

Happy Friday! I have the day off and am starting to packing up our apartment in anticipation of our move next weekend. Packing is far from my favorite thing, so please wish me luck.

If you are looking for something cool to do this weekend in Chicago, check out the exhibition “Field Works Gallery Extravaganza.” The show is this weekend only and features 18 emerging artists who were inspired by the Natural History Collection at the Field Museum. Tonight is the opening at Ian Sherwin Gallery from 7-11 p.m.

Hope you have a great weekend!

The Dolce & Gabbana fall 2014 Alta Moda show sounds like the most luxury fashion show possible. Christina Binkley takes us along to Capri for an insider’s look at the exclusive weekend in Capri.

Mad Men is known for being fastidious about its attention to period detail, and of course the furniture is no exception.

I have no idea if this story is true, but this craigslist post about a NYC restaurant’s turnaround issue makes you think about the effect our cell phones have on our culture.

Miss Idaho wore her insulin pump visible on her bikini during the swimsuit portion of the competition.

All about women’s knickers in the 1920s.

Friday File

I’ve got good news to report — my strep throat is gone! And it’s the weekend, and I’m looking forward to celebrating my birthday (belatedly) with friends. Hope everyone has a great weekend too.

And now some links:

I feel strongly about overhead lights (ask my husband how much I dislike them). It delights me that David Sedaris feels the same. Seriously, this short story is lovely. I love how he describes his mother in candle light. Also, if you’ve heard Sedaris’ voice, is it possible to read a Sedaris piece in any other voice than Sedaris’? I think not.

In The Business of Fashion, Mark C. Oflaherty wonders if camera phones are killing fashion. I have to say, I agree with him mostly. I hate the crappy shots of fashion shows that appeared in my Instagram feed throughout the past month. Sure, every once in a while there’s a good image. But for the most part, the editors who attend them need a HUGE lesson in editing. Don’t post everything! And stop posting so many pictures of yourself. Seriously. It’s not just the fashion hanger-ons. Editors at major publications are just as guilty of terrible camera phone images and narcissistic selfies.

Robin Givhan examines how McQueen and Valentino have evolved since their founders left both fashion houses.

Oscar red-carpet fashion has a big economic impact on the brands who appear (or don’t appear) on celebrities. Vanessa Friedman and Elizabeth Paton break down who “won” Sunday evening. P.S. You need a subscription to read the article, but it’s free and totally worth it. Friedman is a really great critic, and I always love her analysis.

I never knew that arm knitting was a thing, but I totally want one of these “arm cowls.” They look so cozy, and who knows if winter will ever end in Chicago.

Eve’s Wireless

This video from the British Pathe archive shows two women using the “first mobile phone” in 1922. This blows my mind!

Many have suggested that this “phone” isn’t the kind of device that so many of us carry today, but rather a portable radio. In the clip, they ground the device to a fire hydrant and the umbrella is wired as an antenna. The “phone” transmits to an HF radio. But still, it’s kind of incredible to see this early mobile technology being tested and used in the 1920s!

And don’t you love their winter attire? Did you notice one of the ladies is carrying a reticule?

Miyake’s Newest Innovation

Are you ready to have your mind blown? Mine was when I first started looking into Issey Miyake’s new line, 132 5.

Issey Miyake is a Japanese fashion designer who has been working with experimental design since the 1970s. And he still is coming up with ground-breaking design as evidenced with 132 5.

In the new line, Miyake worked with an in-house research and development team, Research Lab, led by textile engineer Manabu Kikuchi and pattern engineer Sachiko Yamamoto. They collaborated with Jun Mitani, an origami inventor and computer scientist.

From Miyake’s website: “The process by which the clothing is made is groundbreaking, using a mathematical algorithm: first, a variety of three-dimensional shapes are conceived in collaboration with a computer scientist; then, these shapes are folded into two dimensional forms with pre-set cutting lines that determine their finished shape; and finally, they are heat-pressed, to yield folded shirts, skirts, dresses etc.”

We have a 132 5. shirt in the fashion study collection I manage (the gradated coral to white one above), and it is amazing to watch it unfold into life. Everyone who sees it flat can hardly believe that it is indeed a garment that can be worn on the upper body.

I frequently get asked where the name 132 5. comes from. The Design Museum explains it well, “one piece of fabric, a three-dimensional shape reduced to two, and the fifth dimension, which Miyake describes as the moment the garment is worn and comes to life.”

Additionally, the fabric used is made out of recycled plastic (PET) into polyester. The process is said to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions about 80 percent.

Last year 132 5. won the Design Museum’s Fashion Design of the Year award. It beat Kate Middleton’s wedding dress by Sarah Burton.

Exhibition File – Currently at The Museum at FIT

Today I have a master exhibition post. Because there are three fashion exhibitions at the Museum at FIT right now, this is not the time to skip it if you are in NYC between now and mid-April.

First in the Fashion & Textile History Gallery, Fashion and Technology investigates technological advancements in both fashion design and production. The exhibition covers 250 years, including the Industrial Revolution that brought us the spinning jenny, jacquard loom, and sewing machine.

Technological advancements in materials — rubber and plastic — and digital technology — 3-D printing, computer aided design, and sewable electronics — play a huge role in the show. Technology has influenced design as well, whether in the form of art deco or space age styles.

Fashion and Technology runs until May 8.

Then in the Special Exhibitions Gallery, you can indulge your passion with shoes in Shoe Obsession. More than 150 examples of extraordinary shoes will leave you gawking in awe. There are some crazy styles in this show.

Shoe Obsession runs until April 13.

And lastly, don’t miss Boots: The Height of Fashion in the Gallery FIT. More than 20 pairs of boots examine themes about sex, rebellion, status. The exhibition looks at how boots grew in popularity historically. It was curated by students from the Fashion and Textile Studies masters program.

Boots: The Height of Fashion closes April 6.

Address: Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27 Street, New York, New York

Hours: Tuesday-Friday 12-8, Saturday 10-5

Admission: free


Friday File – Weird Week

This week turned out to be very weird to me, and everyone at work agrees. Tuesday, we had both a false emergency alarm go off across the entire campus and a snow storm that shut down the school. We are approaching mid semester, which is always a busy time, so the unexpected disruptions did nothing for productiveness.

But I’m hoping to shake it off with my best friends this weekend. They are coming to Chicago for a ladies’ weekend, and I can’t wait!

Here are the most interesting things I found online during this peculiar week:

These photos don’t picture cutting-edge historical fashion, but they show life inside a castings factory in Derby, England during the 1920s and 1930s. I think it’s just as valuable to learn about what the working class wore as the elite.

Ever wonder how museums mount garments so beautifully during exhibitions? The best shows require custom mannequins for each dress. Often this is achieved by building out the form on an existing mannequin. Here’s a peek of my friend Emma Denny at work behind the scenes at the Chicago History Museum.

Christina Brinkley of the Wall Street Journal cuts through the fat to break down the Fall 2013 fashion shows.

Is Vogue kidding with this article? “How to Not-Wear a Jacket” is practically Diana Vreeland-esque. But apparently Fashionista agrees that this is the cool way to dress for winter. Personally, I think this is just a way for fashion insiders to one up the masses who are edging into their territory. The wannabes don’t have the financial resources, but you can bet these women pictured are taking cabs so they don’t need coats anyway.

New Balance is exploring the use of 3-D printing to customize shoes for pro athletes. Sensors track each foot’s motion and how much pressure is created at different points in order to print a plate for the shoe’s sole. This is expected to enhance performance. Eventually New Balance anticipates this will end up at the consumer level.

Athletic shoes seem perfectly matched to 3-D printing, but can you imagine other possibilities in footwear? I’m thinking of a high-heel sole created specifically for your foot! 3-D printing could reduce painful pressure points and make heels safer and more comfortable to wear — customized to each person’s feet!

Friday File – Still Winter

It’s officially that part of winter when I am getting desperate for a little sun and warmth. And this morning I woke up to snow. I’m going to need to stock up on more tea. Hope you guys are staying warm.

Here are the interesting links I found this week:

Have you ever heard of the Men’s Dress Reform Party? I hadn’t. I’m quite familiar with reform movements that focused on women’s clothing and reducing restrictiveness and improving health, but this one focused on men’s dress and was tied to the eugenics movement. Pretty strange if you ask me.

The blog Business of Fashion relaunched its website this week. It has some new financial backers and a new London office. BoF already contained excellent content with critical analysis of the fashion industry, and I’m looking forward to see where the new site and funding takes them.

3D printers are a hot topic, but this is the first example that I’m excited about — a designer is investigating how 3D printing can be used to replicate museum artifacts. Museums that find ways for visitors to interact in with the artifacts beyond just looking and reading a label are very successful at engaging their audiences. I’ve seen museums include swatches of fabric so visitors can touch what the fabric of a particular dress feels like. But imagine being able to touch a sculpture and feel the marks the artist made as she or he carved it or picking up the personal effects of a historical figure! I could see this being really valuable for blind museum visitors.

Have a great weekend, and stay warm!

Exhibition File – Suited for Space

Suited for Space graphic, from Suited for Space facebook page

Have you ever considered all the ways textiles are used besides clothing and furniture? A traveling exhibition currently at the American Textile History Museum looks at textiles in space. The show, Suited for Space, shows how textiles and the technology in spacesuits keep astronauts alive in space.

Visitors will get to see real and replica spacesuits, including Buzz Aldrin’s, and learn how spacesuits have developed and evolved from beginning of the 20th century through the shuttle era. Artifacts and photographic evidence come from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

Suited for Space runs through March 3.

Address: American Textile History Museum, 491 Dutton Street, Lowell, Massachusetts
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 10-5
Admission: adults $8, children 6-16, college students, and seniors $6, children under 6 and members free