Here in Baltimore, MD it is the first day of the symposium and there is already so much to cover. As a new member of the Costume Society of America (CSA) there were plenty of veteran members to answer questions and bring a general warmth to the experience. Today was workshop day. To kick off the morning was Gail Alterman and June Bove’s workshop on mannequin dressing during the Napoleonic Empire. While I missed the workshop on fashioning hair from Roving the workshop on Fosshape, by Marla Miles, was both educational and fun.
Dressing the Empire was a brief survey of fashion during the Napoleonic era and a great introduction to mannequin dressing. Gail Alterman, a costume and textile consultant, provided the survey with flair and June Bove, professor and costume consultant, provided a 101 on mannequin dressing. June is a legendary fixture at the Fashion and Textile Studies program at FIT. She has trained a generation of museum professionals. The pair’s presentation had many takeaways: Interpret historic dress in paintings wisely as the sitter’s age, the painter’s style, and the country in origin plays a part in understanding the garment, textile, or accessory; prepare the mannequin so that it supports the front and back of the garment; and understand the anatomy of the wearer. Best quote: Katherine Bonaparte was “more French than the French.”
Marla Miles is currently a graduate student at FIT and I was thrilled to see her teaching a workshop on the Secrets of Fosshape. She worked at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC and used Fosshape to bring designs by avant garde Japanese designers to life in their exhibition entitled Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Mary Baskett Collection. Recently Fosshape was approved as an archival material. When pressure and heat is applied to Fosshape it stiffens and can be used for a variety of purposes for mounting and displaying objects in museums. After a quick powerpoint Marla showed us how to pattern, cut, sew, and steam the fosshape forms. Hands-on activities were the best aspect of the workshop.
Below are some resources that were discussed in the workshops today. If you have questions you would like to ask the presenters this week please comment below or email me at email@example.com.
(Fosshape Use) Current exhibition at the Museum of the American Indian: Circle Dance
Ackerman’s Repository of Fashion [Available on Archive.org]
Law Calcott, Margaret. “Mistress of Riversdale: The Plantation Letters of Rosalie Stier Calvert, 1795-1821.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Vol. 116, No. 4 (Oct., 1992), pp. 528-530