Tag Archives: dress

Closing Soon: Balenciaga and Spanish Painting, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, until 22 September 2019

Francisco de Zurbarán
Saint Casilda, ca. 1635
Oil on canvas. 171 x 107 cm
© Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

The Spanish fashion designer’s approach to his designs was informed by his lifelong love of art sparked by his youthful admiration of the paintings owned by clients of his seamstress mother, in particular the Marquis and Marchioness of Casa Torres, who spent their summers in the Palacio Aldamar (also known as Vista Ona) in Getaría. Three of the paintings on display in this exhibition, and loaned by the Prado, were in that collection: Head of an Apostle by Velázquez; Saint Sebastian by El Greco; and Cardinal Luis María de Borbón y Vallabriga by Goya. The latter establishes a dialogue with a magnificent red dress suit with a short jacket loaned from the Museo del Traje in Madrid. Balenciaga frequently drew on the heritage of his Spanish homeland, going further than adding flamenco ruffles to his dresses and seeking inspiration by re-imagining bull fighters’ jackets. The exhibition explores the influence of four centuries of Spanish painting on the couturier’s work. Zurbarán was one inspiration, his drapery influencing Balenciaga’s bold sashes. In 1939 Velázquez’s portraits of the Infanta Magarita were reinterpreted by the dress designer’s work. Also notable is the interaction between a spectacular blue silk evening gown and cape and the mantle of the same colour seen in The Immaculate Conception by Murillo from the Arango collection. The curator Eloy Martínez de la Pera, has drawn together some 90 examples of Balenciaga’s work alongside 55 paintings, including works by El Greco, Murillo, Goya and the nineteenth-century artist Antonio María Esquivel. Paintings have been lent by the Prado, Bilbao, Seville and Valencia and costumes, some of which have never been displayed before and designs have been lent by the Balenciaga Museum in his hometown in Getaría, and archives in Paris. The exhibition also explores the impact of Philip II’s court making the use of black fashionable for clothing throughout Europe, and how Balenciaga chose to transform it in his own way. As the magazine Harper’s Bazaar wrote in 1938: “at the new Spanish house Balenciaga [in Paris] the black is so black that it hits you like a blow. Thick Spanish black, almost velvety, a night without stars, which makes the ordinary black seem almost grey.”

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Opens Today: Balenciaga and Spanish Painting, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, until 22 September 2019

Francisco de Zurbarán
Saint Casilda, ca. 1635
Oil on canvas. 171 x 107 cm
© Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

In the summer of 2019 the museum is presenting an exhibition that connects the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga, the most admired and influential fashion designer of all time, with the tradition of 16th– to 20th-century Spanish painting.

References to Spanish art and culture are a recurring presence in Balenciaga’s work. The simple, minimalist lines of religious habits or the architectural volume of their cloth are to be found in many of his designs. The billowing train of a flamenco dancer’s dress echoed in the flounces on some dresses, the glinting reflections on a bullfighter’s suit, brilliantly conveyed in the sequin embroidery on a bolero jacket, and the aesthetic of Habsburg court dress echoed in black velvets embellished with jet trim in some creations are just a few examples. Balenciaga constantly studied the history of art and made use of these influences, expressed through his own powerful and unique style, throughout his career, including his most avant-garde period, reviving historic garments and reinterpreting them in a strikingly modern manner.

The exhibition, curated by Eloy Martínez de la Pera, will include a carefully-selected group of paintings loaned from private Spanish collections and public museums, including the Museo Nacional del Prado and the museums of Fine Arts of Seville, Valencia and Bilbao. They will be accompanied by a group of important creations by Balenciaga, some of them never previously exhibited, loaned from national and international museums including the Museo Balenciaga in Guetaria, the Museo del Traje in Madrid and other international institutions and private collections.

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Opens today: Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, V&A Museum, London

640Open until 4 November 2018, this exhibition presents an extraordinary collection of personal artefacts and clothing belonging to the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Locked away for 50 years after her death, this collection has never before been exhibited outside Mexico. Click here to book tickets and see related events.

 

Call For Papers: Fashion, Costume, and Consumer Culture in Iberia and Latin America: A Session in Honor of Gridley McKim-Smith, CAA conference, 21-24 February 2018, Los Angeles

mariacristinadeaustria.jpg

María Cristina de Borbon, Queen of Spain, Vicente López Portaña ©Museo Nacional del Prado

For the next annual conference of the College Art Association (CAA), scheduled for 21-24 February 2018 in Los Angeles, the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies is organizing a panel in memory of the Hispanist Gridley McKim-Smith (1943-2013).  The chairs, Mey-Yen Moriuchi and Mark Castro, invite paper proposals by August 14.

Fashion, Costume, and Consumer Culture in Iberia and Latin America: A Session in Honor of Gridley McKim-Smith
“Material splendor—rare and exquisite fabrics, dazzling displays of wealth and sartorial beauty—is a compelling value in Hispanic-American clothing” (McKim-Smith, Lexikon of the Hispanic Baroque 2013, 111).  Gridley McKim-Smith (1943–2013) argued that the “profound materiality and sensuality of costume is crucial in Spain’s American possessions, where only stuffs recognized as prestigious can insulate the wearer from public disgrace and where the most sumptuous silks or alpacas, sometimes interwoven with precious metals, can make the wearer both admired and desired.” (114)  In honor of the late McKim-Smith’s research interests and scholarship this session will consider representations of dress and fashion in Iberia and Latin America.  In the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking worlds, depictions of costumes in paintings, sculptures, prints, and other visual media, as well as the creation of textiles and garments, demonstrate the power of dress in the construction of social, racial, gender, and cultural identities.  The existence of extensive global trade networks facilitated the exchange and synthesis of artistic practices and craftsmanship permitting unique garments and objects which revealed the wearer’s style, aesthetic preferences, and social status.  We seek papers from broad geographical and chronological periods, from Pre-Columbian to Modern, that consider the role of fashion, costume, and consumer culture in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking worlds.  How do clothes mediate identity, ideology, social rank, and subjectivity?  What is the relationship between consumer culture and conspicuous consumption in Iberia and Latin America?  How did dimensions of lived experience—psychological, performative, and political—survive in articles of dress?
Chairs: Mey-Yen Moriuchi, La Salle University, moriuchi@lasalle.edu; Mark Castro, Philadelphia Museum of Art, mcastro@philamuseum.org
The deadline for submissions is Monday, August 14. Click here for CAA’s proposal guidelines, which indicate that speakers on the panel must be members of CAA.  Decisions on the proposals will be sent by Monday, August 28.  If you have questions, please reach out to the chairs.