Our Second Annual French Fashion Show event at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center was a great success!  The folks at Contrast magazine, who co-sponsored the event with us (along with the FLLAC Student Advisory Committee, the Department of French and Francophone Studies, and VC Soundsystems) have posted about the event on their blog, with some great photos and a very cute highlights video.

From French Fashion Show

Meanwhile, here are some of our own photos from the event. We had 6 models wearing historic reproduction fashions from the Drama Department Costume Shop, as styled by Emily Selter. They were joined on the runway by contemporary models wearing related looks. Commentary for the historic looks was written by Sarah Cooley, Rebecca Endicott, Alexandra Figler, Ruby Pierce, and Emily Selter and narrated on the runway by Alycia Anderson and Ali Dillilio.

From French Fashion Show
From French Fashion Show
From French Fashion Show

We also displayed two dresses from our historic collection, in the back gallery at the FLLAC. On the left is our Cream Satin Dress with Blue-Green Beading and Sash (#VC1992024), which was designed by Jeanne Lanvin for the summer of 1921 (see more of this dress on our collection website). On the right is our Light Green Silk Gown with Lace (#VC1992034) from 1910-1914 (designer unknown – see more of this dress on our collection website).

From French Fashion Show
From French Fashion Show

Many thanks to Francine Brown and Joann Potter from the FLLAC, and Susan Hiner from the Department of French and Francophone Studies, for making this possible! Thanks also to all the models who participated: Akaina Ghosh, Margot Mayer, Nicole Alter, Emma Bird, Rebecca Chodorkoff, Sara Cooley, Brendan Counihan, Matt Dowling, Kevin Gish, Emma Goodwin, Julia Kawai, Simone Levine, Taylor Pratt, Jay Resit, Grace Sparapani.

Creative Commons License

All the images shown in this post are from the Vassar College Drama Department Research Collection of Historic Clothing and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You can also view these images directly in Picasa; from there you can see a full screen view, or download your own copy of an image.

Right before Thanksgiving we found out that our NEH proposal for a Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions was accepted! This grant will allow us to bring three professionals from the field of costume history to lead workshops for Vassar staff and students. Selected students will be able to get credit for participating in this Historic Costume Preservation Workshop (HCPW), by registering for an independent study in Drama, History, or Victorian Studies.

For students who are interested in museum work, this project will provide wonderful hands-on experience with our museum quality objects. Early in the semester, participants will work with textile conservator Jonathan Scheer to learn best practices for proper handling of costume objects and assessment and documentation of their condition. Then costume historian Jessa Krick will lead a workshop in museum cataloging procedures. Throughout the semester, participants will use the skills they have learned to build documentation for the collection. Later in the semester, costume historian and conservator Colleen Callahan will lead a five day intensive workshop for stabilization and mounting techniques to conserve and safely display the objects. She has recently done similar workshops at Mt. Holyoke and Smith.

The work accomplished through these workshops will greatly benefit our digitization and exhibition plans, and will provide us with documentation that is necessary for future grant applications. At the end of the semester, while the objects are all mounted, we hope to photograph them and host a small exhibition to the public. The photographs and other information about the objects will eventually be available to the public online, as part of our digital collection.

This was a very busy year for the VCCC, and it looks like 2010 will be just as busy! Here are some highlights from this past year:
•    Digital Objects in the Classroom (DOC)– Our team at Vassar College received a grant from NITLE to host a workshop, on March 16-17, 2009, to explore the subject of digitizing material culture collections for classroom use. Teams of faculty, librarians, instructional technologists, and media specialists came from institutions across the country to participate. For more information, see http://grou.ps/digitalobjects
•    NERCOMP workshop – On May 19, our DOC team traveled to MA to make presentations for a workshop for the NorthEast Regional Computing Program,  also about digitizing material culture for classroom use.
•    Care of Textiles class – in May, Co-Curator Arden Kirkland took an online course offered by the Northern States Conservation Center, to learn more about taking care of textile collections.  As a result, we’ve identified some important changes we need to make in our storage  area, for the preservation of the objects. Our NEH grant will cover some of these improvements, but it is likely that we’ll need to seek more support for the continued maintenance of the collection
•    Trying on History –In May, we hosted the Project Aware group (11-18 year old girls from Beacon), to look at historic objects and try on reproductions. Then in October, two Vassar classes came to do this activity. Throughout the year, we continued our reproduction project, generously funded by the Carolyn Grant ’36 Endowment Fund.

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