Thursday 17 March 2016 1:42pm
“Does anyone out there have a spare small wig that could adorn the head of a now bald mannequin?”
That sartorial plea went out before the Fashion Rules Ok exhibition, which is on at the University’s de Beer Gallery Special Collections, on the first floor of the Central Library.
Special Collections Librarian Donald Kerr says he was “inundated by a wide selection of wigs”, and they were combined with a diverse collection of books, magazines and objects to provide insights into the history of fashion and its continued cultural significance.
The exhibition, which spans the Regency to Modern periods, features rare and widely-published books and magazines on fashion etiquette, fashion marketing, fashion theory, and costume.
Contemporary magazines such as Dazed and Confused and Vogue sit alongside historical works such as Sir Thomas More’s Utopia (1684), Racinet’s Le Costume Historique (1888), and The Ladies’ Gazette of Fashion (May 1856).
Other items, such as a Barbie doll from 2006 and a Ken doll from 1968, show how fashion is both ubiquitous, and subject to change.
Co-curator Dr Elaine Webster says the event has been timed to coincide with the city’s iD Fashion week, to provide insights into fashion’s impact on culture as a “system”, and to stimulate both interest and scholarship by showcasing some of the wide literature on fashion.
The collection includes items unique to New Zealand fashion, including sample photographs and fashion house invitations from the Avice Bowbyes Collection. Bowbyes was a lecturer in the Department of Home Science at Otago and reported on French fashion for the Otago Daily Times for two decades.
To promote the exhibition Dr Webster and Dr Natalie Smith have produced a “Fashion Rules OK” t-shirt, which is available in black, white and pink.
Fashion Rules Ok
The University’s de Beer Gallery, Special Collections
11 March to 3 June