THE SECRETS OF TABLECLOTHS

Dressed for Dining is a small exhibition of tablecloths from the mid-20th century, on view until October 5 in FIT’s library. We asked the show’s curator, Patrice George, Textile Development and Marketing faculty and a student in FIT’s MA program in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice, to write a blog post about the show.

As a weaver/textile designer, I love table covers because they are one of the few items that are pure textile (no buttons, zippers, or trimmings). They also make great souvenirs, because you can always fit a tablecloth into a packed suitcase, and not worry about them breaking.

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Above: At the turn of the 20th century, a proper dining table still required spotless white linen table covers. Maintaining delicate white linen textiles, embellished with embroidery and lace inserts, required hours of labor to clean, bleach, press, and repair. After World War I, the emergence of timesaving washing machines made family laundry easier, but the mechanical washers could damage delicate fabrics. Heirloom household linens appeared only for special occasions after that. This particular tablecloth, embellished with satin stitch portraits of Victorian ladies, represents an heirloom quality table cover from the late 19th or early 20th century.

 

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Above: In the mid-20th century, American weaving mills added color and texture to classic checked and plaid tablecloths. Simtex, a division of Simmons Mattress Company, produced many novelty damask checks in high-quality cotton. Examples of Simtex checks on display include themes of the Gay Nineties, lobsters, and sailboats.

Only after I started to plan the exhibition did I realize that I had collected nearly 100 tablecloths from flea markets, garage sales, and  gifts from friends and family.  Actually, all of the tablecloths, except for one on loan from my fellow TDM faculty member Ann Denton, are from my own collection.

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Above: On my third birthday the table was set with a Nottingham lace tablecloth, and cake from a Betty Crocker recipe! But, I just wanted to know if the cloth came from Philadelphia, Scranton, or Wilkes-barre! PA was the largest producer of lace curtains and tablecloths in the USA in the mid-century. Ads for Quaker Lace, Scranton Lace, and Wilbarry Lace appeared in most home design magazines.

Check out the Dressed for Dining page on Facebook.

 

 

 

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SUSTAINABILITY COMES TO FIT’S LIBRARY

Visitors to the Gladys Marcus Library this fall will see a new patch of greenery where file cabinets once stood:

The Sustainability Council's new exhibition wall in FIT's library.

The Sustainability Council’s new exhibition wall in FIT’s library.

The inaugural displays are twofold. First, a selection of photos from one of FIT’s green roofs by a student in Photography professor Keith Ellenbogen’s class. Hue loves the close-up of the Sedum plant — it’s simply succulent!

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Photos of FIT’s green roofs from Assistant Professor Keith Ellenbogen’s class.

The right half of the wall is home to something near and dear to Hue’s heart: the sustainability poster, “Where Does FIT’s Trash Go?” that ran in the Spring 2014 issue of Hue, plus seven posters that will be placed around campus in September, just in time for the college’s first No Impact Week.

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Sustainability posters supported by President Joyce F. Brown and the Sustainability Council.

These posters will guide our community not only in how to dispose of different kinds of waste but also what happens to it after we throw these things away. Hue fervently hopes the information encourages more thought, both about what we throw away and where we toss it.

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OH, HAPPY DAY! EVEN MORE PHOTOS FROM COMMENCEMENT 2014

If you read our commencement coverage in the summer issue of Hue magazine, you were promised a passel of photos from FIT’s 2014 ceremonies, with plenty of crazy caps, stunning shoes, and cheerful grads. (If you haven’t read it, fear not: we think these photos don’t need much explanation.)

Be sure to follow FIT’s Facebook page to see plenty more photos of commencement and the campus!

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Photos by Smiljana Peros, Tudor Vasilescu ’15, Sofia Johansson ’14, and Island Photography.

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ART AND DESIGN STUDENTS DID IT AGAIN (AND BY “IT” WE MEAN CREATE AWESOME WORK)

It’s mid-July, and FIT is (relatively) quiet. But Hue can’t forget that just two months ago, a stunning array of graduating student artwork from the School of Art and Design festooned FIT’s corridors and gallery spaces.

Enjoy some of our favorites in this slide show!

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PROJECT RUNWAY STAR MICHAEL COSTELLO MAKES IT WORK FOR BEYONCE

On Season 8 of Project Runway, Michael Costello was known as the one who cried a lot. Now he’s known as the designer who created Beyonce’s show-stopping dress for the Grammys this year—along with two dozen slinky costumes for her On the Run tour with Jay-Z. Hue considers that a step up.

Project Runway alum Michael Costello gives students a glimpse of his online presence.

Project Runway alum Michael Costello gives students a glimpse of his online presence. Photo by Smiljana Peros.

Costello, who has almost 592,000 followers on Instagram as of today, and who regularly grosses six figures a month from his L.A. showroom, guest-spoke at Fashion Events Planning Confidential, a class in FIT’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies taught by Barbara Berman, on Wednesday. He gabbed about designing dresses for the Kardashians, Paris Hilton, and, of course, the Queen Bey.

The Beyonce dress came about after her stylist, Ty Hunter, scheduled a visit to his showroom. Hunter, always referring to Beyonce as “she,” said, “She wants to be naked. She wants to be sexy. She wants to effortless.”

Costello showed him all 300 dresses in the showroom, but nothing clicked. Hunter asked what he was working on. It was a collection called “Winter Wonderland,” inspired by a recent trip to New York. (Those of us who actually had to live through this past winter might have selected choicer verbiage to describe it.)

Hunter gravitated toward an unfinished white gown made of fabric pieces shaped like flowers and lined with nude mesh. “When we put it on the model, he was like ‘Yesssss,’” Costello recalls.

Beyonce wore Costello's dress for the 2014 Grammy Awards.

Beyonce wore Costello’s dress for the 2014 Grammy Awards. Credit: Getty Images.

But no one told Costello when or whether Beyonce would actually wear the dress. He prayed that she would wear it to the Grammys. She wasn’t on the red carpet, though, and when she did appear, in a smoking La Perla “Cage” vest for her opening act, his heart sank.

Less a minute later, Hunter posted a close-up of the white flower fabric on his Instagram feed and linked to Costello’s page. A few seconds after that, Costello got 5,000 followers.

Once the performance was over, Beyonce appeared in the dress. “After that, it just blew up,” he says.

Costello spent two full hours talking with the class.

Costello spent two full hours talking with the class. Photo by Smiljana Peros.

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