Wednesday, January 28, 2015

One of a kind Hollywood Glam and Mass Produced Throw Aways.

My primary reason for visiting the Museum of Fine Art in Boston was to see the Hollywood Glamour exhibit.  Here is fashion at its peak.  Every object has been meticulously designed and executed to create a spectacle.  These are not simply clothes, they are events.  They create entire stories of their own.


Stunning silk velvet gown with silver embellishments designed by Gilbert Adrian for Greta Garbo in the movie Inspiration.

Here she is in the dress doing that dreamy, far away look she was so well known for. 

And just for fun, the hat I named for her. 

This amazing embroidered outfit was designed by the incomparable Edith Head for Betty Hutton in The Perils of Pauline.

Swoon!  Oh how this must have just floated across the floor.  This silk and fur gown was designed by Travis Banton for Marlene Dietrich in Desire.


One last hat picture.  Marlene knit top hat. 


Oh and THESE SHOES!  These are Mae West's 8.5" platform shoes!  The top part is leather and the base is wood covered in silver paint.  Just the silver toes and heels would have shown at the hem of her gowns.  Apparently she wore them all the time, on screen and off.

Later in the day Dad and I found ourselves completely fascinated by the Bright Matter exhibit by Shinique Smith.  In stark contrast to the lavish Hollywood costumes that were painstakingly made, one of a kind pieces, lovingly preserved and valued over the years, her work is made from throw away objects.  The everyday items that we use and toss. 


There were vibrant, exciting mixed media pieces

No Key, No Question 

I particularly like how she uses what is substantially garbage to create objects of such lightness and beauty. 


Inner Clock

The most fascinating pieces for me were her Bales.   

These totem-like pieces are made entirely of clothing and bits of fabric.  I found the sheer mass of everyday STUFF bundled up in this way to be utterly fascinating.  I felt that these pieces really spoke to who we are as a society and the value (or lack of value) that we give to the objects that we surround ourselves with.  I'm not sure if she meant her work to be a cometary on fast fashion and waste in our society but it definitely go me thinking in that direction.  

I was particularly fascinated by the items I could identify, such as this Paul Frank patterned fleece sleeper that probably was sold at Target. 

I definitely walked away from this exhibit with a renewed determination to buy as much as possible second hand.  Art is wonderful but waste is not.   


  1. Yes, that's the message I get from the Bales exhibit too, although I don't need any encouragement to shop secondhand, it's already a way of life for me!
    Love those amazing Hollywood costumes, so beautiful, but goodness me, how did Mae West walk in those astonishing shoes? xx

  2. Quelle shoes!
    I love the bales too - so compelling. There is beauty in the items we tend to reject as junk. Fast fashion depresses me. So ugly in so many ways.