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Category Archives: California & The West

“Alamo a la Mode: Defending the Importance of Dress” in #SanAntonio

The Costume Society of America’s 41st Annual National Conference “Alamo a la Mode: Defending the Importance of Dress” is being held in San Antonio, Texas this year, May 27-30 and I’m happy to count myself among the presenters ! My paper, “Hidden Treasures: The Importance of Dress at Turtle Bay Exploration Park” (3:20pm on Friday, […]

A True #ThrowbackThursday: CSA Western Region Archives

When I became the Archivist for CSA Western Region, I inherited seven boxes of files on our region’s 39 years of history and activities. These boxes have been added to and passed along to each successive Past President/Archivist for many years, and I thought it was high time we digitized them. The board agreed, and […]

Guest Post: “When Redskin Was the New Black” by Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell

Whether it’s famously blonde Blake Lively wrapped in a Navajo blanket on the cover of Vogue or a Karlie Kloss walking the runway in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show wearing a feathered headdress and little else, high-fashion knockoffs of Native American clothing and textiles inevitably make headlines for all the wrong reasons. Of course, this kind of cultural appropriation is nothing new—a century ago, Paul Poiret and Sonia Delaunay drew modernist inspiration from ancient Native American textile patterns—but it’s been going on even longer than you might think.

Issey Miyake to Western Wear to Amazons at CSA Western Region Symposium

  The Western Region of the Costume Society of America held their symposium this year at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR, on October 11. I was fortunately enough to attend and was treated to seven lovely papers (some works in progress), and two lively discussions with attendees on the papers presented, as […]

The Kimono: Two Exhibits, Two Reviews

* Right now two major museums, on opposite coasts of the United States, both have exhibitions on the Kimono. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has Kimono for a Modern Age (through October 19, 2014) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has Kimono: A Modern History (through January 4, 2015). This […]

Fall Book Notes and Previews (Biba, Art Noveau, and the 19th Century)

The books just keep coming! And not surprisingly, there were many released in time for the new school year. The vast majority of these are museum publications, however, reflecting the ever-increasing popularity of fashion exhibitions in museums. The Biba Years, 1963-1975 By Barbara Hulanicki and Martin Pel (September 23, 2014, V &A Publishing) A revealing […]

“Hips Don’t Lie” at the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco)

“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.”– Nietzsche

California Fashion History: Davis Schonwasser Co.

I recently received some beautiful vintage baby clothes from a very dear friend, and one piece was a beautifully embroidered silk baby bathrobe bearing the label “Davis Schonwasser Co.” The sales tag suggests that the garment dates to 1910-1920, but I (of course), wanted to know more and couldn’t help diving in head-first to do […]

Shirley Temple (Black) 1928-2014

With the sad news of the passing of Shirley Temple (Black) in today’s New York Times, I thought it would be appropriator to remember some of her contributions to film costume, fashion, and popular culture.

Holiday Book tease: “Hollywood Costume”

My Man Godfrey happens to be one of my favorite movies (hello, William Powell!). The image of this dress is gorgeous in this two-page spread, but seeing all those glass bugle beads in motion in the film is just absolutely stunning.