Sunday, February 2, 2014

Journey of a Dress

You may have heard of Joseph Campbell's Journey of the Hero, a theory about the archetypal hero's quest for self-realization through a series of steps and stages, but what about the journey of the dress? Clothing can be heroic too you know! "Journey of a Dress" is the title of a recent exhibit featured at the Los Angeles Museum of Art (LACMA). I had to make my own journey to see this fashion exhibit of epic proportions which celebrates Diane von Furstenberg and her iconic wrap dress. I am a little embrarssed to say that I don't own a single wrap dress and I only own one article of clothing by the designer, but this didn't stop me from enjoying the journey.

I highly recommend venturing to see this exhibit if you are in the LA area, but if you can't, I'll take you on a photographic journey of the exhibit, starting with the building that it's housed in, which is the May Company department store on Wilshire. Designed in a style known as Streamline Moderne, the building was the originally the home of the first department store on a strip called the Miracle Mile. In it's heyday it was a premiere shopping location, but now LACMA owns this building and soon it will serve as the home of the Museum of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Upon entering the exhibit you will be engulfed in a sea of pink and photos featuring Diane von Furstenberg and celebrities wearing her creations. Above the entrance to the main exhibit of her dresses is a sign that encourages you to "Feel like a woman wear a dress!"

The star of the exhibit is most definitely the droves of mannequins clad in wrap dresses which are all grouped by color. These mannequins come across as an army of very fashionable women ready to take on the world, which sort of echoes the philosophy behind the iconic wrap dress. Created in the 1970s, a time when women were entering high status professions in great numbers, the wrap dress provided a chic way to dress for work that was also effortless at the same time.

A women could throw on the dress, wear it to work, wear it out for drinks, then slip it off easily due to the fact that it had no zipper. I think the implication of the last part is probably two fold: one it speaks to women's sexual liberation. Two, the fact that you don't need a man to help you zip and unzip it says: "I am woman hear me roar because I can get dressed for myself!"  (This is what I gathered from the pamphlet; I am really not that philosophical when it comes to analyzing clothing.)

In addition to the lovely frocks, artwork immortalizing the larger than life, Dianne von Furstenberg was also on view. It is easy to see why so many artists are captivated by her. She's technically a princess (she married Prince Egon von Furstenberg), an entrepreneur and a style icon. Most notably, Andy Warhol did silk screen portraits of her. You know you're truly a celebrity when Andy silk screens your mug.


Well, that "wraps" up my journey. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I think I might have to go out now and get a wrap dress of my own. Apparently DVF is going to put out some limited edition prints on her wrap dress, including ones with Warhol's flowers. Now that sounds right up my alley!


  1. Thanks for sharing the exhibit, Katie! Love to see what I couldn't witness for being physically far away! :)

    1. I am glad you enjoyed my "virtual" version of the exhibit and the museum! I always love your travel pics. Blogging is a great way to travel without leaving your house!


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