Friday, January 10, 2014

Clothes As Art – Modern Love

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Bendigo Art Gallery Interior – Permanent Collection

I’ve never really thought about clothes as forms of art, but when you think about it, some haute couture is just that - the imaginative use of materials and textiles in new and dynamic ways as a form of artistic expression.

For a person who expresses little interest in fashion, and certainly doesn’t dress á la mode, I appear to have attended three exhibitions over the past 12 months that concentrated on fashion and clothing. Blame it all on my friend M, who is keen on clothes and always dresses very stylishly unlike myself.

In April or May last year I went to the ACMI Hollywood Costume Exhibition in Federation Square, then in November attended the Edward Steichen Exhibition at the Victorian National Gallery. And this week M and I ventured to Bendigo to visit the Bendigo Art Gallery’s Modern Love exhibition

Because the train tracks were being upgraded or something, we travelled to Bendigo by a VLine bus. It took about two hours to get from Southern Cross Station to Bendigo Station and from there we walked to the Art Gallery. Opinions of the locals were varied as to the difficulty of the walk, one woman averring that it was hard, and a bus driver telling us it was easy. We believed the bus driver and he was right – it was an easy 15 minute stroll through the main street of Bendigo to the gallery.

Bendigo is a pleasant rural city about 150 kilometres from Melbourne  that originated as a boom town in the 1850s gold rush.  It has many fine buildings still extant from the period.

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The Capital – Bendigo’s Performing Arts Centre next door to the Bendigo Art Gallery

On to Modern Love

The Exhibition, subtitled “fashion visionaries from the FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) Museum LA” covered  fashion from the 1980s to the present. Many well known designers were represented – Chanel, Yves St Laurent, Christian Dior, Comme des Garçons, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen; the list goes on.

The costumes ranged from punk to glamorous, all highly individual designs, many in bright colours. There was the outrageous and the beautiful; clothes you wouldn’t mind wearing and others you wouldn’t be seen dead in. 

I assumed that photography was banned so didn’t take any photos of the exhibits, though apparently non flash photography was permitted.

Here’s some photos I found on Google Images…

Wool Jersey dress designed by Christian Francis Roth – photo from Milca Designs

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Vivienne Westwood – Anglomania Suit – photo from Handmade by Carolyn Blogspot

As well as the exhibits,  there were videos playing on big screens with footage of the clothes being modelled on the catwalk by famous models. This was both mesmerising and occasionally hilarious.

It took about two hours to absorb the exhibition -  reading the commentary, viewing the costumes and videos - so we didn’t have much time to explore the rest of the Bendigo township, before catching the bus back to Melbourne.

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Folly created by Sebastian Di Moro in the garden adjoining the Bendigo Art Gallery. It ‘s made out of timber, polystyrene, fibreglass and artificial grass

If you are into fashion or the history of haute couture, or just like beautiful clothes, you would probably enjoy the Modern Love Exhibition. Even a non fashionista like me found it interesting and felt the trip to Bendigo was worth it. 


Whispering Gums said...

I love fashion and costume exhibitions. There is something called Wearable Art. However, I think that's a bit of a separate thing to the sort of art that Haute Couture is, but I'm sure fashion designers see themselves as artists. When we were in Melbourne last we went to the Bond exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. My favourite part was the costume part - but most of them were were fashion, such as the gowns the female stars wore in the casino scenes. I could only look and wonder. For a start I can't wear those shoes!

Isn't Bendigo Gallery gorgeous. You've probably been there before but we only went for the first time last year and spent a lovely hour or so (all we had) wandering around it. Loved the cafe too! Your Victorian regional galleries are treasures.

Anne S said...

I haven't been to the Bond Exhibition yet, but I think I'd be more taken with the gadgetry than than the clothes. The Edward Steichen Exhibition at the National Gallery was my favourite of the "clothes" shows I've been to and I thought the garments displayed in it were the most gorgeous.

Actually, that was the first time I've been to the Bendigo Gallery, despite the fact that the Director is an old work collegue from years ago.