There are currently not one, not two, but three stylish fashion exhibits on display at the Art Institute of Chicago!
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603-6404
I’m super excited to share my recent museum experience with you.
Ahem…please note, there are some nude images ahead.
Alright, lets go!
First up, was Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy.
This exhibit was all about the “private worlds of dress and undress”.
During the 19th century, people were being defined and categorized by what they wore in public. Things like social status, education, tastes, and even moral character were indicated by clothing choices. Funny how this still feels somewhat true today, no?
On the flip-side, in private, individuals felt much more free to be themselves and to make personal choices based on personal needs (of comfort, hygiene, intimacy and sexuality) and not be judged so fiercely by society.
Several paintings, prints, magazines and drawings in this exhibit were of individuals undressing, bathing, sleeping, waking up and deciding what to wear.
Wanna guess the artist name and title of the following works of art? Move your mouse over the photos for the answers.
There were a few other themes explored in “Undressed” but, I won’t give the entire exhibit away.
Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy closes on September 29, 2013. Check it out!
Unfortunately, the museum did not allow photos to be taken in this exhibit.
But, let me tell you, it was AMAZING!
Picture spacious, dim yet warmly-lit gallery rooms highlighting humongous, colorful, extremely detailed, oil on canvas, 19th-Century figure paintings by Degas, Tissot, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cassatt, and Caillebotte. Some rooms having lavish, plush-covered seating areas in the center, for a more comfortable viewing perspective. A few walls, displaying words. Quotes like the following:
“La Parisienne is not in fashion; she is fashion.“
Many figures in the paintings were women, wearing very elaborate 1870’s bustle dresses. I loved how similar dresses were on display along side or adjacent to the paintings. Corsets, petticoats and other underpinnings were also incased in glass, labeled, and on display.
The exhibit wasn’t all women’s fashion. There was a showing of masculinity and male fashion too. Frock coats, suits, walking canes, and top hats were also on display.
Alluring ambience and fancy clothes aside, the paintings were beautiful and especially nice to see!
The entire exhibition was truly an enchanting experience for me. I think the curators did a fantastic job, especially on “The Garden Exhibit”. WOW! I won’t dish the details on that one, so you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I was.
Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity closes on September 29, 2013. Go, experience, and don’t forget to grab a nifty button!
At this exhibit, I learned that instead of the glossy photos that we see today, the pages of fashion magazines back then contained woodcuts, engravings and other mechanically reproduced illustrations (known as fashion plates).
These illustrations showed readers the latest clothing, hair and accessory trends. Information on designers and boutiques where the styles could be picked up, were also illustrated.
I enjoyed viewing the various publications, and getting a glimpse at how women during the 19th century stayed up-to-date on the latest fashions.
I mean, can you imagine? No internet. No television. No photography. But getting your “fashion fix” via a magazine with hand-colored fashion plates inside? Had to have been exciting, no?
Fashion Plates: 19th-Century Fashion Illustrations closes on September 9, 2013. Take a peek!
So, that concludes my recent trip to the museum!
If you’re in the Chicagoland area and into fashion, art and history…I highly recommend stopping by the Art Institute before these exhibits are over and gone.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and actually didn’t realize how much I missed going. I must plan another visit soon, as I didn’t have time to really see The Modern Wing since it’s been added.
If you’ve seen these stylish exhibits, which was your favorite?
If you aren’t in Chicago, what cool art exhibits are happening at your local museum?
If you’re in Wisconsin (near Sheboygan), have you been to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center?
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