The Waterloo Region Museum (with partners Fashion History Museum) is currently exhibiting Street Style – focusing on fashion and architecture in the Region of Waterloo. The exhibit is on of the many shows presented as a part of Building Waterloo Region – a festival focusing on architecture and design excellence.
The floor opens with a show film, morphing a dancing from decade to decade, changing the music, fashion and architecture behind them. The style of dance is also made to match the decade of design.
Following is a lineup of mannequins dressed in costume from La Belle Epoque to The Trench.
Compositionally, the exhibit is exquisite, featuring clothing design juxtaposed with architectural design. In spaces that would normally serve as negative space, the gallery wall images of Waterloo Region buildings echo the structure in the costumes themselves. The result is uncanny: a concert of geometries and flourishes orchestrated in symphonic harmony. Even if you are uninterested in women’s fashion or architecture throughout the decades, this exhibit presents some tantalizing eye-candy for the lover of design.
The opposite wall of the exhibit has a timeline, contextualizing women’s fashion, architecture, art movements, world events – drawing parallels between radical changes and design itself. Someone the later leading the former. Also for the tactile types, there are mounted swatches of fabric for the express purpose of touching.
Now wait for it: There are also shoes.
The image below are presented in an order – first are general images of the costumes, second are images of juxtapositions that I found particularly interesting. Finally… there are shoes.
Details down to the complex undergarments
La Belle Epoque etais belle
Regal coats and bustles
Trains and geometrics
Glamorous gowns, and hats. Elaborate design.
Details down to gloves, umbrellas, hats and shoes.
A breath of bombastic Edwardian matched with downtown fronts
Downtown ladies. Laces, velvets, frills.
The Late Edwardian lady – simplicity with stunning detail.
Decades of transition. Late Edwardian, First World War to 20s Swinging. In a few decades, hemlines went up. Emphasis on gender goes down.
Simple 30s Depression to the Second World War working woman. I need to re-photograph this one… Apologies for the poor quality. It may be my favourite transition.
Wartime simplicity. Austerity and heavy geometries.
Forties and Fifties formalities and frivolities.
Clean lines, sharp design.
Lovely late Fifties and Sweet Sixties colours and lengths.
60s minidress polyester crimplene and heavy geometrics.
Patchwork peasant Seventies.
The Trench. And a slick silk.
The following are photographed considering the negative space with the costumed mannequins.
And finally… Shoes.
Those of you who made it this far deserve a final treat. Detail from the Late Edwardian lace bodice and the back of the lace Edwardian coat. These is are exquisite pieces.
Late Edwardian Bodice -Lace Detail