For me, experiencing Beyonce in Lemonade was not unlike attending the opera or listening to Messiaen. I was totally into it, but also keenly aware that there were layers of understanding that were beyond me. And that's ok. I understand houndstooth on a deeper level than most people so it goes both ways.
YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW
Anyway, in addition to the musical experiences I also gave three very successful "Behind the Seams" programs at the museum. These events grew out of the "garment viewings" I used to do after my annual fashion lectures. Basically it is just getting a group of people in a room and taking a closer look at some artifacts in the collection. Unlike an exhibit where you can only see a few sides of a garment, I can show interior construction and details that get lost when it is dressed on a mannequin.
What I love about the programs (and the ones last Saturday were particularly good on this score) is that they end up being really collaborative. Often there are people in attendance who have lifetimes of knowledge about vintage clothing or sewing and they can point out things that I might have missed. Many garments are altered over time, or have multiple parts that don't go together clearly, so there can be a lot to discuss. In the first session we had a lively debate about the alteration history of a three-piece Balenciaga ensemble. Was the skirt original? Was the top altered? Was that weird peplum made out of the old lining?
I take no responsibility for that embarrassing hemline
Usually historians are taught to use documents and photos as primary sources, but it is much less common to be taught how to "read" an artifact. I got some good instructions on how to do it in grad school, but I also recently got the book The Dress Detective: A Practical Guide to Object-Based Research in Fashion which does a great job of explaining it in simple steps. Now I'm all inspired to do more of this kind of programming! History gets so much more exciting when it is presented as something to explore and discuss, than as indisputable facts.
Huh so this ended up being a very weird post. Not much snarkiness, no update on the fan inventory, AND NOT ONE GIF!
Ok well this seems all in order then.