In 2009 FIDM Museum in Los Angeles, exhibited Betsy Bloomingdale’s vast collection of haute couture, donated to the museum over some forty years. The wardrobe, amassed between 1961 and 1996, includes pieces from Marc Bohan for Dior, Oscar De La Renta, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and André Courrèges, among others. For Vestoj’s inaugural issue, On Material Memories, the collector is interviewed by Kevin Jones, Curator and Christina Johnson, Collections Manager at the museum.
We have seen how the vintage aesthetic can be employed in order to reconnect with bygone times, how it can be seen as a way to hold onto the past, whilst simultaneously remoulding it in the image of the future. In new vintage clothing past, present and future seem to converge in a manner which incarnates each element in equal measure, whilst concurrently not embodying any of them.
Most people know the Big Suit, but there were a lot of others. On one tour I wore a body suit that was painted to look like musculature. You could literally disappear in it — it covered my head and face and only my eyes and mouth were visible. You felt completely transformed in a costume like that, which is lot of fun… and it looks a little frightening.
Fashion and photography share certain characteristics. Each claims the status of art, yet remains at its margins. The claims of photography have achieved recognition to some extent, yet photography-as-art constitutes only a small part of all photography. Fashion’s claim to artistic status remains contentious.
The day dawned bleak and chill, a moving wall of grey light out of the north-east which, instead of dissolving into moisture, seemed to disintegrate into minute and venomous particles, like dust that, when Dilsey opened the door of the cabin and emerged, needled laterally into her flesh, precipitating not so much a moisture as a substance partaking of the quality of thin, not quite congealed oil.