Our guest blogger today is Allison Daly, who worked as an intern in the Textile and Fashion Arts Department from January through April. Recounting her experience at the IMA, the following post was written by Allison before the close of her internship.
I had the honor of interning at the IMA during what I think is a very exciting period for the museum’s Textiles and Fashion Arts department. Inviting exhibitions and what I gauged as a growing interest in fashion arts only reinforces the notion. Material World opened Friday, April 22nd, following a year long demonstration of avant-garde fashion in the exhibition Body Unbound, Contemporary Couture from the IMA’s Collection. And of course, there was the unforgettable touring exhibition Read My Pins: The Madeline Albright Collection of influential and unique jewelry. Meanwhile, the Fashion Arts Society consistently engages members in events that compliment the collection, such as a private tour through storage and a virtual meeting with film director Matt Tyrnauer following the screening of his documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor in The Toby.
Through Read My Pins I learned the former Secretary of State, Dr. Albright, communicates messages by carefully choosing what pin to wear: a turtle when she felt negotiations were moving slowly, a gold dove to symbolize a partnership for peace, the sun as a sign of hope in difficult situations. The pendants also add to her outfits. I was inspired by the idea of small accessories communicating messages and influencing outfits from day to day.
Like a pin, a printed silk scarf has the same potential to communicate a message and update suits.
After reading a post on a Pucci scarf in the collection, my interest grew in regard to other scarves housed at the IMA. While in storage, I discovered a charming Yves Saint Laurent design for The House of Dior, stumbled upon a Balenciaga scarf of tiny poly-loop bows, and peeked at gorgeous shawls from Turkey.
Right now, I am in a dream. As a student of design, it is such a privilege for me to study the construction and design of quality works up close.
Before moving from Austin to Indianapolis for this rare opportunity, I was eager to learn more about the projects I would be working on as a curatorial intern. Petra’s post “So…What exactly do you do?” prepared me for the hunt data clean-up initiates and Jessica’s post on “Building a Bird(man) House” got me excited for the hands-on construction I might be participating in with object storage. As expected after reading these posts, my scarf search evolved into a storage maintenance project. Keeping up with the housing and organization system for objects – there are over 7,000 in the textile collection – is an ongoing responsibility. The task of re-housing the scarf entailed rolling it in Tyvek® around a supportive, archival tube. The new housing received a content identification label to prevent unnecessary handling, and then the roll was carefully threaded onto a rod across a large drawer suitable for flat textiles, like scarves.
While searching, a vibrant, branded Norell, silk twill scarf stood out to me, perhaps because I am patiently waiting for spring to stay here in Indianapolis.
Scarf, 1969 by Norman Norell (1988.298) Gift of Mrs. Max Fisher in memory of Norman Norell
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Filed under: Art, Public Programs, Textile & Fashion