Event | Latest Royal Ontario Museum exhibit celebrates all that is BIG about fashion and textiles

The Royal Ontario Museum‘s latest exhibit is huge in every way, shape and form. Aptly named BIG, the 40-artifact strong show celebrates all that is big – socially, culturally and historically – in fashion and textile.

ROM fashion costume curator Dr. Alexandra Palmer drew from the museum’s vast collection of over 50,000 textiles and costumes to create the outsized multimedia exhibit that includes pieces that are “BIG in size, BIG in historical importance, BIG news, BIG name, carry a BIG price tag.” On the fashion front, includes pieces from Vivienne Tam, Alexander McQueen, Maison Martin Margiela, Yves Saint Laurent by Tom Ford and a Dior by Galliano haute couture gown with a price tag of over $100,000!

This Dior by John Galliano jacket dress, inspired by the work of fashion illustrator René Gruau, took 500 hours to create and required 175 metres of cloth.

“BIG is not just about size,” said Palmer. “Even the smallest textile can have BIG personal, social and cultural value that shifts according to context. BIG brilliantly looks at the meaning of textiles and fashion from around the globe and across time.”

Only three of these yellow sequin Yves Saint Laurent by Tom Ford cheongsam dresses were ever produced.

Case in point: while both the Dior and YSL dresses are testaments to unrivaled creativity and craftsmanship they were also chosen for their historical importance. The Dior dress is from John Galliano’s last collection for Dior before his tragic fall and the sequined cheongsam dress was one of the last Ford designed for YSL. Other fashionable pieces include a Maison Martin Margiela zipper vest and a lace off-shoulder Alexander McQueen dress that was worn to the 2007 gala opening of the Michael Lee Chin Crystal by donor Lonti Ebers.

From left: Maison Martin Margiela zipper vest and Vivienne Tam “water sleeve” evening gown.

The exhibit is a multimedia one that combines artifacts (including textiles, clothes, furniture and accessories), video and associated programming (think lectures and an instalment of Friday Night Live at the ROM) to showcase all that is BIG about fashion and textiles.

BIG opens on Saturday, November 3, 2012 and runs until Fall 2013. Click here for more details.

-Septembre

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About Septembre

Septembre Anderson is a passionate journalist, cultural critic and public intellectual. Her work has appeared in Flare, FASHION Magazine, TheKit.ca, Complex Canada, Vice Canada and Huffington Post Canada.
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