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Museum Monday: There is no stranger under the cherry trees

The city is flushed with pink and buzzing for joy over sunshine, blue skies, birdsong, and cherry trees!

This Museum Monday, the 6th annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (on now to April 28) compels me to share a soft petal pink, evening gown (pictured right and now on display at our popular Art Deco Chic exhibition, part of Ivan Sayers’ collection).  This early 1920s shift falls loosely from bare shoulders to dainty feet in cascades of shimmering, velvety rose.  The subtle pattern resembles a bundle of plush blossoms. 

If you have a spring-time frock you’ve been dying to wear, put it on for our special High Tea @MOV fundraiser on Mother’s Day Weekend. Spoil mom or simply come to savor fine teas, sweet treats, and art deco fashions. And if you’re craving a bit of lively jubilation, claim your tickets now for our Dapper & Flapper Formal.

Pictured here in a postcard (circa 1942), cherry blossoms adorn the path to a Japanese memorial in Stanley Park.  These cherry trees were donated in the 1930s, and again in 1958, to honour Japanese Canadians who served in WW1.

This is just one of the many distinctive stories our trees have to tell.  For more Vancouver Cherry Blossom history, consider taking a Tree Talk & Walk Tour with the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, or search for more cherry tree paraphernalia on OpenMOV.

Scout out the best cherry trees using this list of favourite locations for blossom viewing and an interactive Google map which shows where the cherry trees are blooming right nowWe're a little biased, but we personally recommend coming to Kits Point, where the scent of cherry blossoms is quite remarkable this month!

“I believe in the power of blossoms. It’s appreciating the beauty in life that makes life worth living. In our universal response to their beauty, we are united . . . The ephemeral nature of the blossoms reminds us to seize the moment and celebrate life now.”
- Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Founder and Director, Linda Poole

A view from the MOV Studio. Photo by Maurice Li.

Get your glam on - Art Deco Chic opening soon!

Roll out the red carpet and get your glam on… Art Deco Chic is coming to the MOV (March 8 through September 23).    

Art Deco Chic:  Extravagant Glamour Between the Wars features more than 60 women’s garments from the 1920s and 30s. Handpicked for their decadent beauty and exquisite craftsmanship, many of these garments boast couture labels like Chanel, Vionnet, Patou and Schiaparelli

Commodore Ballroom opening night gownNotable Vancouver treasures include this black gown (right), worn to the opening of the Commodore ‘Cabaret’ in 1929.  Handbags, hats, shoes, jewelry and dresses (like this golden sunburst flapper shift (below) illustrate the distinctive, sleek geometry of the Art Deco period. 

Art deco flapper dressIf you just can’t wait to see what else we have in store, you can immerse yourself on a glittering night on the town here at the MOV for the Art Deco Chic Opening Night  on Wednesday, March 7. [Note: The opening night is primarily for Members and VIPs, so a limited number of tickets are available for purchase, and must be bought online beforehand!].

Dress Code?  Vintage glam of course! We’ll all be reveling in the sassy spirit of these roaring ‘boom and bust’ eras so this is your big chance to float into the room like a tall glass of champagne!

 

 

Hot vintage styling tips to get you ‘the deco look’

Attitudes & Inspirations…Think of rebellious young flappers…The exuberant movement of Josephine Baker…Sweet cinema darlings like Mary Pickford or Clara Bow  (the original ‘it girl’)…The confident modernism of the Empire State Building…The bright lights of Broadway…The streamlined  elegance of  Coco Chanel  and vintage Vogue couture …Mae West in all of her cheeky swagger…Jean Harlow dripping in long, cream satin and bombshell shine…Marlene Dietrich smoking in a tailored tux…Smoldering Greta Garbo or those famous Betty Davis eyes. 

For a little extra inspiration, you can also check out these videos on 1930s hair and makeup.

And if you’re now day dreaming about the perfect outfit, you could always take a trip out on the town and do a little vintage shopping at some of these great local stores:

If you read this after the event has already happened, we hope you’ll join us for some upcoming events that celebrate this Art Deco Era!

Mannequins as canvas for clothing

Down in the basement of MOV, we’ve been assembling a strange collection of female forms. These mannequins and body forms will wear glamorous garments in the upcoming Art Deco Chic exhibition opening March 8, 2012. However, in the meantime they are naked and exposed in all their bodily eccentricities.

MOV staff repairs mannequins for the Art Deco Chic exhibitionWe’ve been challenged to find mannequins that are the right size and shape to wear clothing from the 1920s and 1930s. Luckily, guest curators Ivan Sayers and Claus Jahnke collect vintage mannequins along with vintage clothing. Ivan’s 1920s mannequin was made by the firm of Pierre Imans of Paris. She has a beautifully modeled wax face, while her torso is wrapped in coarse muslin. You would not mistake her for a man, but possibly for a thirteen-year old girl. Her breasts are barely there, her waist minimal, and hips very slim. Her straight up and down figure was the ideal 1920s female body, designed to fit the era’s straight-cut, sack-like garments (more noted for their surface decoration than for their shaping).

Claus has a lovely mannequin from the late 1930s made by Fery-Boudrot of Paris (we’ve taken to calling her “the blonde”). She will wear an elegant outfit made in Germany or Austria, the areas in which Claus specializes. Many of the 1930s evening dresses depend for effect on flowing drapery and scarves. The backs of the dresses were especially elaborate so that the wearer looked good on the dance floor. We look forward to posing the blonde and her companions to show off these late 1930s garments to best advantage.

We turned to Kevin Smith from Arm & a Leg Mannequins Rental to help make up the numbers for the exhibit (which will have between 66 and 71 garments — the debates are still raging). Kevin provided a group of Rootstein figures from the 1990s with strongly modeled faces and moulded hair. First we tried evening dresses from the 1930s on the Rootsteins, but the dresses only came down to their shins. At 6’ tall, the Rootsteins are all leg. This led us to try garments from the late 1920s. By the late 1920s, the idea was to abbreviate the garment and show lots of leg. The classic flapper-style garments look great on these elegant Amazons.

The non-vintage mannequins will be painted a neutral colour (the exhibition designers, Matt Heximer and Sue Lepard from 10four Design Group, choose Benjamin Moore’s “Mannequin Cream”). Right now a crew headed by museum fabrication coordinator Dave Winstanley are sanding, priming, and spray painting the contemporary mannequins. We have to wind our way through a maze of bodies to have a word with Dave these days. He appears unimpressed by his female companions, and as he carefully sprays a selection of female arms dangling from the painting rack he points out the nearby “hand rail”, a long board that holds a hands upright for easy spraying.

If all goes well, our meticulous prep work will be invisible to visitors once the exhibition opens to the public on March 8. The point is to focus you on the amazing clothes, while the armature of display fades into the background.

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