Valencia region has a very famous festivity, Fallas, celebrated by mid March every year, going back in history. And, as part of the celebration, the tradition dictates to dress in costume that speaks about the history of dress in that region.
These are some images from a private collection of dresses, accessories and textiles of costume from Valencia that are come much alive every year when the Fallas celebration takes place. The history of costumes may be dated back into the XVIII century and where mostly used by peasants, but tradition transformed them into a more elegant garment for special occasions. Along the years the garments suffered from influences that have altered or modify the original patterns. But, nowadays they are a historic document of ethnological value.
Silk production in Valencia region was a very important in the textile tradition and is dated to the VIII century, when the Arabs introduced the mulberries cultivation and later the city was known to be the end of the silk route, the route for trade and commerce that along the centuries expanded its influence in Spanish and European economics. These costumes are a testimony of a great industry that was very powerful. In 2016 The Colegio de la Seda, that houses the Museo de la Seda, received the Unesco Silk Route Program Award.
"Boro, Threads of life" - Somerset House, London, April 2014
Reflecting about the significance of exhibitions opens to review them once they are closed. They stay as documents living in catalogues and archives, that means extending the life or existence of exhibitions.
This article is about a show called Boro, Threads of life, at Somerset House, London 2014.
It was a beautiful, delicate, and knowledgeable exhibit featuring a carefully chosen collection
of pieces of "Japanese indigo patched textiles ..... to become exquisite objects of abstract art",
as it is stated in leaflet's text.
The installation was almost monastic with a clear intention of drive the interest to the pieces.
The display space was in plain white walls, with one only distracting element (apart from
the architectural features) being the hangers, that talk about the origin and use of some of
the pieces: clothing and wearing.
Boro was the name for a a practice in rural Japan some centuries ago when peasants who could
not afford silk for clothing, would stitch and reuse their cheap fabrics, in sleeping covers and
clothing until they were almost unrecognizable. These pieces speak about a society who would
look for utilitarian solutions.
The title of the show offer a real meaning of the pieces in display, they are not a luxury commodity, they are a labour of necessity, and they tell stories of lives lived. These patched pieces are a tribute to the modest inventiveness of human nature when it comes to necessity. But here most of them are shown losing some of their meaning, they look more work of art more than real garments. The visit offers a moment of indulgence for is the aesthetic attributes of the pieces what captures the attention at first and then comes the understanding of the origin and value of the pieces. Some images as a visit to the exhibit.
This is a reviews of the exhibition that has been edited and updated.
photo from MoMu website
Plan of the exhibit
Sounding very attractive by title, the content of the show ends being a little
sort in pieces. The display is divided by sections, up to 22, each one with
a title that aims to explain the different concepts treated in the exhibit.
At the entrance of the show the visitor receives a leaflet with very concise
information and a list of pieces, names of couture houses and designers
presented and labels for other objects.
The scenography honoring the title of the show is most powerful and the darkness embraces the ambience, which is interrupted by spotlights that focus each of the pieces on display, most of them standing on huge irregular black tables, offering the notion of islands in the middle of a "black sea", a very dramatic effect. Temporary wall, also painted in black, divide some of the sections and also serve as surface where to hang paintings or display other objects, t hat are the artistic or historic reference to the concept presented.
The exhibit covers some milestones in the history o fashion, such as a replica of the Chanel's "Ford T dress", the celebrated prototype of the "petite robe noir", the elegant and always in fashion black dress. There some paintings used to contextualize costumes and cloths.
Pieces shown are from the Momu's own collection, loans from other museums, and private collectors or the couture houses.
Among the designers presented are some of the famous Antwerp Six from Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Fashion Department) plus other well known international designers and couture houses, Givenchy, Chanel, Viktor & Rolf, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint-Laurent, Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garçons, Gareth Pug, etc.