Can someone tell me how I never managed to get up to the Perelman Museum (part of the Philadelphia Art Museum) before I went there with the group for PR Weekend?
And who came up with this study room concept, and why didn't I know about that either?
Let me start at the beginning. Well, not actually - the beginning would be Kenneth King's embellishment workshop, which I fully intend to talk about out of order in my next post. For now, the museum.
There was a perfectly adequate couture exhibit, and on another day, I would have been really excited about it - there were some beautiful pieces from Badgley Mischka, Carolina Herrera, Zac Posen, and an outfit from Marc Jacobs that was so not right that I really liked it.
But the study room was something else entirely. The showing they gave us was called "Great Designers" and it was a selection pulled from their ginormous collection of pieces by, well, great designers.
The first thing they showed us was this gown from worth, with two bodices, one for day and one for evening. The explanation was that gowns like this were so expensive, it gave the owner the ability to wear it more often and get more bang for her buck.
This gown had plenty of bang. The floral trim on those flounces was embroidered and attached afterward, which at least made me feel a little better for the half-blind seamstresses who probably stitched it somewhere by totally inadequate light.
I love the color combination - the gold, the green, the burgundy velvet underside. Best of all, they opened the bodices up on the table for us to see the construction - boning, waist stays, serious discomfort but who cares if you can wear this thing?
There was a beautiful pleated Fortuny gown that looked like death in my photographs so you'll just have to take my word for it that it was gorgeous. I think Fortuny is one of those things that just needs a body in it. Most of these dresses I was perfectly happy to see flat on the table; that I would have preferred on a mannequin.
Schiaparelli is one of my favorite designers, and they had the most amazing embroidered velvet jacket. Embroidered, mind you, with vegetables. The buttons are also vegetables.
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of bound buttonholes in velvet. Yeah, right.
There was a beautiful Chanel coat that I didn't get any photos of because I got a call from the fire museum regarding those long-awaited buttons (yes, they're mine now!) and so I saw it come out, and I saw it go away, and that was really all I saw. Can you see the pout?
And then there was this dress. I was so interested in the back - the closure, the interior - that I completely forgot to take a photo of the front. Doesn't that figure?
I'd love to see the kind of fit you get with this - not only does it zip, but there's a panel that conceals the zipper, and it fastens with alternating hooks and eyes and baby snaps.
Obviously someone had a lady's maid - or a man with really good hand-eye coordination. They're not good at undoing hooks as a rule; let's think about doing up that many, and then throwing in the curve ball of snaps.
One of my favorite dresses of the day (though by far the least attractive or wearable in my eyes) is this yellow and white one. Can someone who was there remind me - was it YSL? That's what's sticking in my mind, but I was so blown away by all those horsehair-edged ruffles, I can't remember.
Held up by Ingrid, you can see it's actually a funky-looking dress, and not in a good way. But flat on the table, you can really see the beauty of the work in this. The photos (and I took quite a few, this is just one of them) show the architectural quality of the edges.
Coming down off my la-di-da, they also kind of reminded me of Pringles potato chips, coming out of the tube in their perfect little chip shapes. Can you see it?
There were a few other pieces in there, but not all the pictures came out that well. We weren't allowed to use flash in the study room, and the black lace dress came out muddy, though it was beautiful in person.
I had no idea what to expect from this visit to the museum, and they went beyond any expectation I could have had. I have to contact them again and find out just how large a group you need to visit the study room, and then I may have to hijack a few people (I think I know some locals who wouldn't mind) and pay another visit.