December 16, 2012

As seen

 This week, I finally made my way to the Fabolous Fifties Fabulous Fashion exhibit at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.
To be perfectly honest, I was a little bit disappointed with the (lack of) size and scope of the event. Sure, there were lots of nice things, but I'm pretty sure the museum has more and the choice the create themed rooms sort of blurred the developments during the era. And although I loved the fact that they paid attention to the importance of home-made fashion and sewing patterns in the 1950's, I thought it was really odd to show only Vogue and Butterick envelopes. Instead of Marion and any number of Dutch ladies' mags, that is (I think some kind of endorsement deal may be behind this). 
That all said, I may well hyper-critical because this is an era of fashion history I know well, and love.  

What I wanted to talk about in this post is how well some garments in the exhibit tied in with things we, in the sewing blogoshere, all know and love. My apologies for the poor quality of the pictures, I didn't bring my camera and used my phone (the Gemeentemuseum allows you to take pictures, as long as you don't use either flash or a tripod).

Of course, there were some designer favorites. That satin one, second from the left, is a Dior, the tule an lace number right from it Balenciaga.

But let's get on with the issue at hand. This dress reminded me of the Vintage Vogue 8728 (a reproduction) dress Erin was obsessed with about a year ago. It's not the same, but the two share some characteristics.

And who can look at a selection of vintage bathing suits without being reminded of Peter's quest to make one for his demanding model-cousin?

Here you can see what I told about attention given to sewing. In this room there were eight dresses, four in each window. Some were designer originals, some were copies made by licenced companies and some were home-made using designer patterns. And paper pattern stuff is used throughout as decoration.
In this picture, from left to right, the first one is home-made, the second one is Givenchy and the third was made by a Dutch company which had bought a licence for this design. I don't remember who originally designed 1 or 3 or what 4 was.

This dress was in the other window of the 'couture and home-sewing' room. Again, I don't recall the provenance of this particular garment, but its design must have started as a creation from some French designer. Just look at that bodice, those unusual... disappearing lapels. Who ever said Pattern Magic is always entirely original?

I had a lot of fun with this little 'see and recognize' game, almost as much fun as I had collecting inspiration and thinking up myriad ways in which this exhibition could have been even better... I hope you enjoy it too!


  1. Thanks for the little preview, I've yet to go there. I read a review on it that said it featured home-made garments as well, which I thought was special. Nice to read your comments about it.

  2. Wish I could visit this! I wouldn't have spotted that frilly dress as Balenciaga. I always think of his stuff as heavy and sculptural. Thanks for the review.

  3. Lucky you. I will be visiting Amsterdam 28th dec2012 . Please do give me suggestions of places I can visit as an enthusiastic sexists. Thanks

  4. I had meant enthusiastic sewista, damn my iPad,s auto spelling and my hurry to post the comment, really sorry for the typo, feel free to delete the previous comment.