Monthly Archives: May 2012

FIT GRAD STUDENT SAVES THE LIFE OF A 2000 YEAR OLD TEXTILE

Hue loves old things.  Things with a history, and a little bit of mystery.  That’s why we were so heartened to read that Quinn Bradley, who’s earning her MA in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice, spent last semester in her Advanced Conservation class working on this:

Bradley writes:

“This is a 2000-year-old Nazca textile from Peru. I did 80 hours of conservation on it, which included cleaning, relining, and stabilizing it with net overlays. The lining fills in areas of loss all over, and the invisible net keeps the holes from growing and frayed edges from unraveling more. All stitching was done by hand.”

A public affairs associate at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Bradley said, “I had trouble figuring out what the design meant. One day, I was walking through the galleries here where I work when I noticed a piece of Nazca pottery that had a very similar motif. I started to have a hunch that it had something to do with water and irrigation and farming, since Nazca is such an arid coastal region. Then I found an old issue of Hali, a magazine for people who collect antique carpets and textiles. They ran an article about water symbolism in Nazca textiles, and a lot of them had the exact same patterns mine did. So my hunch was right!”

Now, because of something Bradley told us, we’re completely obsessed with the Nazcan Lines, ancient geoglyphs.  Dude.  Those are far out.

THESE CHANEL ILLOS ARE HOTTER THAN, WELL, SOMETHING VERY HOT

Our very own Department of Special Collections and FIT Archives owns some truly excellent fashion illustrations. Like these beauts of Chanel getups over the ages.

Here’s a 1916 sketch from the files of Max Meyer (1876-1953), who later became president of FIT. He sent scouts to Paris to copy the fashions so that he could knock them off in America. This gal digs the pockets on her jersey so much, she can’t keep her eyes open.

Lady in blue

Max Meyer sketch of Chanel outfit. (Source: Max Meyer fashion sketches, 1915-1929)

Here, a black tweed Chanel suit drawn for Bergdorf’s custom salon in the fall of 1965. Hue thinks it’s incredibly sexy, sort of schoolteacher-meets-sailor.

Yes, ma'am!

Chanel outfit from 1965. (Source: Bergdorf Goodman Custom Salon sketch collection, 1930-1969.)

And one from the winter of 1990-91, drawn by none other than Karl Lagerfeld for Nina Hyde, the fashion editor who died earlier that year. The confident line, the casual shading, and Karl’s handwriting… Hue is having palpitations.

For Nina, love Karl

A Karl Lagerfeld sketch from 1990. (Source: Nina Hyde collection, 1914-1996.)

SHIRT HAPPENS 10: IN WHICH I SHOP FOR BUTTONS

[In the fall, Jonathan Vatner, Hue staff writer,  took an introductory menswear sewing class. He has been blogging about his experiences on Hue, Too.]

Here’s the difference between my comfort in the trimmings store (where you buy buttons) and in the fabric store: none at all.

The button section of the trimmings store I went to looked like a bank vault full of safe deposit boxes, with each drawer full of one (or two) kinds of buttons. There was definitely an order to these boxes, one which I was utterly incapable of discerning.

To understand buttons you need to know that they are sized by the unit of “ligne,” a French word pronounced in a totally un-French way: “line.” The ligne system has something to do with the diameter of the button, but it’s not an exact correlation. Men’s dress shirts generally come with size 14L or 16L buttons. (Before we go any further, decondition yourself from seeing an “L” and thinking “large.”)

Some buttons, especially those on blazers, have a built-in shank, a solid bit that separates the button from the garment, allowing for that droopy look that everybody treasures.

Some buttons have rimmed edges; those are better for dress shirts. In the store I went to, I found something to the tune of zero buttons with rimmed edges.

Some buttons have four holes for the thread; others have just two. I figured that two-hole buttons were no-nos for my class. Which is probably the reason that, whenever I found a button I liked, it had two holes.

The Wall of Buttons

Picking buttons ain't easy.

I placed my five buttons on the check-out counter and said hi. The clerk, an exhausted, rumpled middle-aged man, turned to his left, shouted, “one dollar” to the person next to him, deposited the buttons into a small ziplock bag and, without meeting my glance, reached out his hand for the money.

THE OLDEST PIECE OF CLOTHING I OWN

A friend of Hue received this T-shirt as a gift from his grandmother in 1990:

No, Hue didn't go to Oxford.

My oldest shirt

It’s a little too sheer now to wear out of the house, but our friend still sleeps in it.  He would never give it away.

Closeup of the shirt

You can't buy holes like this.

It represents his grandmother’s dreams.

What’s the oldest piece of clothing you own, and what’s the story behind it?  Send a picture to hue@fitnyc.edu

FINE ARTS GRADS GIVE HUE SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Calling all potential viewers of FIT’s Art and Design Graduating Student Exhibition: Tomorrow (May 22) is its last day.

Hue was struck by much of the art in the Great Hall, but especially by the installations that invited the viewer inside. Take, for example, “Graveyard” by Marcel Bornstein, a concrete foundation with several plots.

Installation in FIT's Great Hall

"Graveyard" by Marcel Bornstein '12

At the entrance, Hue found a poem and a handwritten note that read, “YOU CAN WALK ON IT (PLEASE)”. Hue complied. Being inside the installation almost felt like walking through a graveyard; Bornstein captured the dark solitude of it quite viscerally.

A closeup shot of the Graveyard installation

More of "Graveyard"

Also in the show was “Vestige,” which resembled a scrapbooking desk straight outta grandma’s house. As directed, Hue sat in the chair, opened the drawers, and flipped through the books.

An artwork in FIT's A&D exhibition

"Vestige" by Cassandra Holden, Fine Arts '12

The drawers were filled with (surprise!) hair. The books contained shapes and textures that felt resonant, even if Hue wasn’t sure what they meant.

Hue definitely appreciates art more from the inside.