Posts Tagged ‘clothing’

I went on a whim.   No one has ever called me ‘fashionable’ when it comes to clothing!

I went not knowing what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised at what I encountered.   The majority of the exhibit consists of dresses designed by Christian Dior from 1947 to 1957.

people looking at the Christian Dior exhibit at the ROM, Royal Ontario Museum

Christian Dior was born in a seaside town in northern France in 1905.  He began his career in fashion by selling fashion sketches in the early 1930’s after a failed attempt to run an art gallery.  This led to a job as a design assistant with Paris couturier Robert Piguet.   His career took off after WW2 when he started his own business, House of Dior (Maison Dior), in 1947.

a red knee-length dress in the foreground, a black one in the background, also a black and white striped dress, part of a museum display of Christian Dior clothing

below: This simple but classy two piece dress with black cummerbund is from Dior’s 1948 autumn-winter collection.   It is made with black velvet with iridescent bead work.  The bottom part is a mid-calf length skirt with the same beading.   Actually, the words simple and classy describe most of the dresses here.

two headless mannequins with black dresses, upper parts only are shown, part of a ROyal Ontario museum exhibit dress in foreground has iridescent beads sewn on it

below:  Embroidery with beads and stacked sequins in intricate designs.

close up shot of the back of dress that is heavily ebroidered and beaded in blue and purple floral motifs

below: The fabulous colours of fabric samples – this is only a small part of the display of fabrics with “a silk warp and a dupion weft”.  Warp and weft are weaving terms – warp refers to the threads that run lengthwise down the fabric while weft refers to the crosswise threads.   Dupion is similar to silk but it is thicker and more uneven.

silk fabric samples of many different colour

below: This dress is made from the silk fabric described above.

pale blue grey silk Christian Dior dress in the background, a red and a black dress are in the background, ROM exhibit,

beige suit, jacket and skirt. Jacket has tailored waist and 6 very large mother of pearl buttons,

Christian Dior’s success as a designer and a businessman continued until 1957 when he died while on vacation in Italy.  Yves Saint Laurent spent a few years as the Artistic Director immediately after Dior’s death although he was only 21.  There have been countless designers and many changes since then but the the company still exists as part of LVMH.   I was surprised to learn that the full name of the company is LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE.  I also hadn’t realized that many of the luxury brands that we recognize the names of are actually controlled/owned by 3 companies: LVMH, Kering, and Richemont.  If you have a few minutes, take a cruise through wikipedia.

part of an orange dress with cloth covered orange buttons on both the front and side

below: There was a small display of jewelry, including this necklace by Maison Gripoix.   It is a string of lily of the valley flowers made from green and white handmade glass paste.   Glass paste, or pâte de verre, is made by mixing finely ground glass, binding agents, and colour.  The resulting ‘paste; is molded and then kiln fired.  Apparently the lily of the valley was Christian Dior’s “lucky flower”.

Dior necklace with green glass leaves and white flowers made of beads, gold as well, large and short

The exhibit is presented by Holt Renfrew and you can find it on the 4th floor of the ROM…. until 18 March 2018. In the meantime, you can find more information on the ROM website.

 

#ROMDIOR

Spadina doors, stores with doors wide open to take advantage of the summer days.  Spadina was once the center of the garment industry in Toronto.  Then it evolved into Chinatown, especially the area south of College and north of Queen.  It still retains some of its Chinese character although there are many other Asian and South Asian influences.  There have also been some changes as the Asian merchants and residents move to the suburbs.

below: Racks of clothing for sale on the sidewalk

racks of pants and t-shirts for sale, on the sidewalk outside a store

below: A quiet corner for a cigarette break

fruits and vegetables for sale outside a food market on Spadina, beside it is another more business like entrance, with stairs, with a young man in an orange vest at the top of the stairs smoking a cigarette

below: She’s standing outside a restaurant that’s covered with signs and menus.

sculpture of a little Asian girl dressed in red holding a large soup bowl, standing outside a restaurant with a lot of signs in the window and on the door

below: There are usually many vendors with small tables of items for sale, such jewellery, herbs & other plants, small household items, clothing, knick knacks, etc.

a man sells items outside a Vietnamese restaurant

a woman in a pink saree and a man in a turquoise turban stand outside the entrance to a clothing store on Spadina

two women outside a store,looking at a phone, a woman inside is crouched on the floor, working.

below: And last, an open door of a different kind.

front end of a Spadina streetcar, evening, door ope as people getting on, ad on the outside with a picture of a woman,

As you can see, the doors themselves are uninteresting, it’s the context that counts here.

This is a “Thursday Door” post.  If you are interested in doors, there are lots of blogs that feature door photos on Thursdays…. check out Thursday Doors organized by Norm 2.0 for more information.

 

Someone has redone the signs in Bathurst subway station….
now they look like they belong at Honest Eds store!

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - the direction sign to subway and to exits.

… and when I came up to street level I discovered that the station has been decorated with Honest Eds type ‘adverts’ complete with awful puns

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - on the window of the station, Our prices aren't always good but they're fare

…. including word play based on subway station names such as “Turnstiles, now museum, soon you won’t”.  Groan.  Smile.

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - on the window of the station are two signs, one says Presto no more change-o and the other says Turnstiles now museum soon you won't

below: The main entrance to the station now looks like an Honest Eds window.

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - on the window of the station, The window beside the main entrance has been covered with fake ads.

below: They aren’t too easy to read in this picture, but the two signs on the left are, first, “Bacon & Eglinton $3.25” and second, “There aren’t any snakes on our tracks, St. Patrick banished them”.   Were you expecting better?  [laughing]

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - on the window of the station, exterior of station by streetcar and bus loop has four signs in the windows that are puns based on the names of TTC stations.

Nearby is the real Honest Ed’s store, a landmark for many years.  Eighteen months ago, I posted some pictures of the store and at the end of that post I mentioned that the store was scheduled to close at the end of 2016.  Well, the end of 2016 is drawing nigh and Honest Ed’s is slowly winding down.  The decorating of Bathurst Station is part of the good-bye process.

At the moment, the interior of the store is a shadow of its former self.  It is still in business but the goods are getting scarce.  There are definitely still bargains to be had.  I have a new hat that I bought there today, red polar fleece, that set me back 50 cents… plus tax.

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. a bin of lipstick and other makeup. Someone has written the word Riley in pink lipstick on the side of the bin

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. A bin of men's underwear for $4.99

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. The bedding section is being torn apart and dismantled

below: Ed Mirvish and a crowd of shoppers back in the day.
The picture still hangs in one of the many corners of the store.

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. An old picture of Ed Mirvish surrounded by a crowd of people hangs on a wall above a Bell payphone.

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. a few shower curtains on display as well as some checkered tea towels. The rest of the shelves and wall space are empty

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. ladies underwear in a bin for sale, surrounded by empty bins and wall space, lots of mirrors. Yellow caution tape marks off a section of the store that is now closed.

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. a black and white photo of a young woman on a wall beside a convex mirror showing the stairwell. also an ad printed right on the mirror for bradasol lozenges

below: Photo taken from the walkway between the two buildings that make up Honest Ed’s store.  Looking south.

looking down at an icy alley where four people are walking between buildings, sign on building says Honest Eds Annex,

below: From the same vantage point, but looking north.  From here I spotted a new mural.

looking down on an alley, there is a mural along the side of one of the buildings.

below: The mural is a large scale photo montage of people passing by the Bloor Street windows of Honest Ed’s. It catches the reflections of both the window contents and the life on the street.  It is “The Theatre” and it is the creation of Matthew Monteith.

part of a mural in Honest Eds Alley by Matthew Monteith showing people walking past the windows of Honest Ed's store, large scale photo
part of a mural in Honest Eds Alley by Matthew Monteith showing people walking past the windows of Honest Ed's store, large scale photo

part of a mural in Honest Eds Alley by Matthew Monteith showing people walking past the windows of Honest Ed's store, large scale photo

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. an old man with a cane sits on the steps between two sections of the store

You’ve probably never heard the word asafo before.  You probably have no idea what it means.

Until last week I didn’t know the word existed either.

I went to the Royal Ontario Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit.  There were 100 excellent pictures of insects, animals, marine life, the sort of thing you’d expect.  There was no photography allowed in that exhibit so I have no photos of the images on display.  You’ll have to take my word for it that I was there.

I can appreciate the skill and patience that it takes to capture rabbits in the snow or a school of fish in a certain light underwater but those kind of pictures don’t excite me.   That’s not to diminish the work of the photographers, it was all very high caliber both technically and visually.    What I think I’m trying to say is that I left the exhibit wanting more, something more from my visit to the ROM.

Luckily I didn’t have to look far.  In the next room was Art, Honour, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana.

museum exhibit of asafo flags from Ghana, colourful flags of militia groups in yellows, reds and black. Many are hanging in display cases.

Colour, lots of colour.  And a subject that I knew nothing about, asafo flags.  I wasn’t even sure what part of Africa Ghana is in (It’s on the south coast of Western Africa between Togo and the Ivory Coast as it turns out.).

The flags are hand made with an assortment of different motifs.  The British Jack in the upper left corner is a very common feature.  That’s a clue.  Yes, Ghana was a British colony.   Reading the history of Ghana is like reading the colonial history of large parts of Africa.  The Portuguese built a fortress at Elmina in 1482.    Interest in the region was piqued by the presence of gold, hence the name Gold Coast.   By the early 17th century the first African state,  Akwamu, controlled an extensive part of the coast.  They were displaced by the Ashanti who were very involved in the slave trade, especially in trading slaves for weapons.   When European countries outlawed trading in slaves in the early 1800’s,  Ashanti power suffers.   Some tussles ensue, a few battles, some back and forth, and by 1902 what was Ashanti becomes is a British colony.    It remained a colony until 1957.

close up of a flag, hand made, British Jack in the top left corner, a man walks in front of a church in the center, a black bear in the top right.

I’m not going to pretend to know or understand African history.  I’m only trying to give some context to the flags.    First, jump back to my mention of Elmina and the Portuguese. When the Portuguese arrived in this area in the 15th century, it was the Fante (or Fanti) people that they encountered.  Both the Fante and the Ashanti belong to the Akan people.  The Fante prevented them from venturing inland and leased properties for Portuguese trading missions. But when the Portuguese objected to Fante rules and regulations the Fante expelled them.  Soon after, the Dutch arrived.  The Fante served as middlemen in the commerce between the interior and Dutch traders on the coast.

Around 1724 the Dutch either established or made important a number of militia groups of local Fante.  These are the Asafo companies.  Historically, Asafo companies were in charge of the safety and protection of the local community.   At the height of the slave trade they protected individuals and communities.   They exerted power, exercise political influence and maintain codes of conduct within Fante communities. Each company has a flag and that flag has many roles.   They represent proverbs and depict narratives of pride and wisdom.  They accompany oral history and provide a means to preserve customs and traditions.

below:

  1. top flag, by Kweku Kakanu, Saltpond Workshop. “Only a brave man goes under a large tree” because only large animals go under large trees. Made sometime between 1950 and 1957.
  2. bottom flag, artist unknown, Kromantse Workshop. “Only tie a bull to a large tree”. Both the animal and the tree are acknowledged to be strong and mighty.  Made around 1980.  It has a Ghanese flag in the top left corner.

 

two flags displayed on a black background, with three femail mannequins dressed in traditional Ghanese costume.

below:

  1. top flag, by Kweku Kakanu, Saltpond Workshop. A crocodile dominates and controls a pond of fish. Made around 1940.  The prey can not escape.
  2. bottom flag, by Kwesi Budu, Saltpond Workshop. The fish cann’t escape the net of the fishermen just like enemies will not be able to escape when confronted by the company.  Made around 1950.

two flags displayed on a black background, with two male mannequins dressed in military Ghanese costume.

Fante asafo flags from Ghana, two on display in a museum, chickens and roosters,

Fante asafo flags from Ghana, two on display in a museum, griffons

two mannequins in military uniforms as part of a museum exhibit at ROM

 

 

Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles and Costumes,
ROM, 4th floor,
until March 2017.

 

 

 

First, a big thank you for being welcomed into Gadabout to explore and take pictures.  Gadabout is a store on Queen St East and it is home to “vintage clothing, nostalgia, ephemera, textiles and curios.”  It is packed full of old things.  Interesting things.

Exterior of the Gadabout store on Queen St East showing the window display and entrance. The window is full of things for sale and there are also a few things sitting outside the store that are also for sale - old glamour magazine, old men's skates, a teddy bear, a crocheted coat,

below: And when I say packed, I mean it!  Floor to ceiling.

Against a wall in Gadabout store, shelves with small cubbyholes all filled with small items, curios, b=vintage, treasures, such as old producs, toys, figurines, household items,

below: Who could resist a watering can purse?  In pink even.

a pink purse in the shape of a watering can hangs from a hook on a wall. A pair of beige gloves hangs below it. Folded fabric items are on the shelves beside the bag and gloves. Blankets or sweaters.

A small doll with a very lifelike face is looking towards a shelf filled with small ceramic and porcelain items such as vases and figurines

below: Containers and packaging for Mennen baby powder, 40 cents for J.R. for Athlete’s Foot, Silvo silver polish, a tire repair kit, 6-12 insect repellent, and wintergreen oil.  The latter is used topically to relieve muscle aches and pains.  It’s labelled as a poison as it is easy to overdose on it if ingested.

A small section of shelf in a store selling vintage items, on this shelf are old drug store and household products such as wintergreen oil, silvo silver polish, baby powder, athletes foot treatment,

below: Knights Templar black bicorne hat with feather along with matching cuff.

An old black military hat with a white feather in it sits on a head mannequin. Beside it is another mannequin wearing a tartan kilt and a white shirt. The shirt has a brownish leather cuff with a red cross on it.

below: All those drawers are filled with old photographs.

old wooden drawers filled with old photographs, a mirror, and an old chair with a vinyl watermelon print fabric on it.

old photograph of a man in uniform, a front page of the Daily Mirror newspaper, more drawers, all in a store filled with vintage items.

below: Vintage clothing

sleeves of colourful shirts and blouses hanging on a rack. Orange polka dots, red poppies, wild prints, all vintage clothing

a teddybear sites in a can with a painting of flowers on it. An old Glamour magazine with a yellow cover
Old pins (buttons) in the foreground with beaded necklaces in the background.

below:  Fancy handbags and shoes.

items in a vintage store on Queen St East in Toronto, on the wall there are some small handbags, as well as some high heeled shoes. Some of the bags are beaded and one is a shiny gold colour.

Gadabout website

The title of the exhibit is ‘Surrender’ and the words on the wall say this:

“Liz Magor’s art invites us to reconsider our relationships with the things we encounter every day.  Through subtle shifts in materiality and context, her works reveal the important role that objects play in our lives: they can allow us to conceal ourselves or to express our identities.  In her sculptures and photographs, Magor explores how we depend on domestic materials to develop a sense of self.”

Nothing is mentioned about surrendering, or why the exhibit has the title that it does.

In the first room there are boxes on the wall.  Each box looks like a carefully wrapped sweater or jacket that has just been purchased.  I can envision a middle aged saleslady taking her time to package your purchase, like in an Eatons store thirty or forty years ago.

art installation at the Art Gallery of Ontario by Liz Magor - two walls with many open boxes on them. The boxes are made to look like they've just been opened to reveal a sweater or top folded neatly inside, including the tissue paper that often accompanies a new purchase. The clothes have all been decorated with different objects.

On closer look, most boxes also have a hand print, or shape of a hand with index finger pointing at something and little details are amiss…  a ketchup package for example.

blog_liz_magor_cornhuskers

The second room has a number of smaller installations.

A garment bag left over a chair.
Neatly folded blankets hanging on a wall.
A platter of chocolates and left overs.
A tweed jacket on top of a liquor bottle.

art installation at the Art Gallery of Ontario by Liz Magor - in the foreground are two long narrow tables. On one of them is a platter with chocolates and a platter with the remains of cheese and crackers.

A husky under a blanket (of snow?  on a bed?)
A coat and purse hanging on a hook.
The contents of a room boxed and ready to move.

art installation at the Art Gallery of Ontario by Liz Magor - 3 pieces. First, a pile of moving boxes and other items that look like they are in the midst of getting ready for the movers. Second, a large white blanket bed sized that has a hole in the middle of where the pillows should be but instead there is a wolf curled up inside the whole. Third, what looks like a jacket hanging from a hook on the wall

art installation at the Art Gallery of Ontario by Liz Magor - two hangers with plaid blankets folded over them hanging from hooks on a wall. One of the blankets has a clear plastic Creeds bag over the top part of it

On closer look, some of the details on the blankets are wrong
including the labels that are sewn on back to front.

The label on a plaid blanket is sewn on backwards so that the writing on the label faces the blanket.

I was interested in what people’s reactions were to this exhibit so I had a chat with a couple of the employees about it.  According to them,  there was no reaction.  Most people showed interest in the boxes but when they walked into the second room they rarely stopped to take a closer look.

blog_liz_magor_rose

As for surrender, I did find reference to it in the description of the exhibit on the AGO website, ” In this exhibition, everyday objects and forms, as well as the natural world, function allegorically by evoking the human need to surrender to desires, compulsions, fantasies.”  Once again, I will leave it to you to decide if this description fits.

Exhibit continues until 29th November.

On the last Sunday of the month from May through October, the streets of the Kensingon Market area are closed to vehicular traffic from noon to 7 p.m.  This year, the first two Pedestrian Sundays were cold and wet.   For July and August the last Sundays of both months were hot and sunny.  The following photos were taken on those two days.   Entertainment… music… art…  people watching…. restaurants… shops – the colours of Kensington.

A man with a bushy beard and pointy brown hat is sitting at a table selling things like necklaces and tie dyed shirts

A man is juggling three flaming torches while a crowd looks on, outdoor event.

A woman is smiling as she sits on the steps of a store. Racks of colourful clothing are on display, and for sale, on either side of her

Two women in orange and yellow safety vests. One is sitting on a waist high barrier to keep cars off the street while the other woman is standing and leaning against it.

A man is wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Marilyn Munroe with sunglasses on it. He is trying to sell T-shirts and other works of art outside on the sidewalk. Beside him is a street art painting of a man's face, with his finger in front of his lips.

A man plays scrabble outdoors on the street while wearing roller blades
One man is sitting on a patio surrounded by a few empty tables and chairs. Right behind him is a man sitting at a table inside. The window is open so the man inside is visible

A young man with a Captain America shield, poses in the street

A woman with long grey hair, dark sunglasses and and black and white shirt is in front of a store window. On the window are the words Celebrating 50

A woman selling hats is holding a straw hat with a black band. A male customer is reaching for a dark blue hat.

a street musician stands beside his empty banjo case. In front of the case is a note that says " I need money to buy gas for my pickup to go to the vet to pick up my injured dog who was kicked by my wife as whe walked out the door to run off with my best friend"

 

A rack of clothing on display outside. The sign at the end of the rack says $5 rack. It is made of a collage of pictures of women and clothes.
A man is painting a circular maze on a street

A woman is standing behind a table covered with things that she is selling, outdoors. A sign beside the table says MIB Rolling Stoned Stoner Yard Sale

Three musicians are playing on a rooftop, two guitar players and a drummer. They are on top of the Fairland grocery store in Kensington

three women at an outdoor event. One is wearing sunglasses and a silver necklace. She is holding a cold drink in her hands. The other two women are older and are wearing hats.

female drummer from Amai Kuda and Yjosephine playing at Kensington Pedestrian Sunday

A woman in white is using red fabric ropes to perform acrobatic moves above a crowd of people at an outdoor event.

At an outdoor art exhibit, two kids are behind a display of three paintings of women and butterflies. Only the legs of one child are visible while the legs and side of the body of the other child is visible.

A woman is wearing a hat and sunglasses. She is beside a rack of many straw hats with different coloured bands.

Chalkboard sign outside a restaurant that says Fries b 4 guys. Two people are inside the restaurant, sitting at a table and eating
A woman is tying a black string bikini onto a mannequin
A man is standing in front of a green door that is covered with stickers, graffiti and bits of old posters

Parts of three paintings of children hanging outside on display

A woman with long bright pink hair sits beside a table of art wortks for sale. Beside her is white pedestal with a brightly coloured abstract sculpture on it

A woman is typing on an old typewriter at an outdoor event, Pedestrian SUnday at Kensington Market. She is the Spontaneous PRose Shop. Pay her and she'll compose haiku, poetry or stories for you.

A picture of a woman resting on her folded arms is on a brownish coloured guitar. A man's hand is in the picture as he plays the guitar

An assortment of things for sale on a table including a basket of stuffed animals, some shirts on hangers and a childs red Chinese jacket.

will write poetry or prose for 25 cents

sunglasses and their reflections of Kensington