About the exhibition ‘Wearing Memories’, at the Museum at the Fashion Institute Technology of New York, I had already talked earlier this year, indeed, to be precise it was the first post of 2018. I go back to talk about it because, if then the project was still in the incubation phase, from the end of May the collected material became an exhibition also published online on the museum’s Tumblr page.
To refresh your memory, ‘Wearing Memories’ was launched last November by the Museum at FIT and it was about personal stories through clothes; we ‘common mortals’ from all corners of the world could have shared the stories and photos of the garments that had a special meaning for us and, if selected from the museum, they would have just been part of the exhibition.
I visited the the museum’s Tumblr page and I chose some of the memories that impressed me at most but each one deserves to be read for its particularity, so I invite you to do it.
Wearing Memories: First Communion Gift
“This dress is the first article of clothing I bought with my own money — money I received as a First Communion gift. I saw it in the 1962 Sears Spring through Summer Catalog (pg 421) and had my Mom buy it for me. She kept very little from my childhood so it was an enormous surprise when she gave it back to me when I was in my 40s. It was also the first purchased garment I was allowed to choose myself rather than chosen by someone else. Even though I am now 64 I still experience a sense of pleasure and self-determination whenever I look at it”. (Grace Finaldi, Decatur, Georgia)
Wearing Memories: plaid scarf
“After my brother Bruce died in 2014, his wife gave me his Stewart plaid scarf. Bruce was very proud of his Scottish heritage, so I wanted to use it to honor him. However, the scarf was too itchy to wear comfortably around my neck. I love hats, so I decided to have the scarf made into a turban. That took some time since draping a turban is tricky. Finally, I found Julia Knox at East Village Hats, who created my turban in 2016. I know Bruce would be proud of the result! I am!”. (Nadine Stewart, New York, NY)
Wearing Memories: Adidas jumpsuit
“This Adidas jumpsuit brings back memories of my time in college. I bought it in 1996 at a vintage shop in Bairro Alto, a trendy district in Lisbon, Portugal. I wore it with a striped blouse and Adidas Gazelle sneakers. I remember I felt free and comfortable. When I was a fashion design student, my drawing professor spotted me wearing it and asked me to bring the outfit to class for a model drawing lesson. My classmates and I drew my clothes. It was very flattering! I still have it but I don’t wear it anymore”. (Brigida Ribeiros, Castelo Branco, Portugal)
Wearing Memories: Peter Fox Shoes
“Peter Fox Shoes on Thompson Street opened in 1982. I was a graduate student at the time and had no money, but had to buy these red satin, hand-made shoes. I still wear them”. (Madeleine Beckman, NYC)
Wearing Memories: 1940s tunic
“This is a tunic worn by my mother in the late 1940s/early 50s. The photo shows her wearing it while standing next to my father at their house in the Hollywood Hills, probably shortly after their wedding. As my father died a few years later, it is one of the few images of them together. The dress is made of a very interesting silk triplecloth, tailored with tiny buttons down the back. I was always intrigued by the fabric– with its little red and white figures against a black background, beautifully stitched and tailored. I have kept the dress for the past 40 years in my closet. It’s a reminder of the style and taste of my mother, and as the photo shows, also the special relationship my parents had to interesting things. I do not know the maker– there is no label, but my mother used to shop at I. Magnins, and Bullocks Wilshire (in Los Angeles), in the high designer sections– Balenciaga, Balmain, Cashin, Pucci, Missoni, Yamamoto, Miyake, etc. Waiting on the cushioned stools, as a little kid, I would watch her try on dresses in these elegant stores and grew to love the smell, sound and feel of the fabrics– which has grown since that time, to become the long-term focus for my life”. (Elena Phipps, New York)