This summer, I had the opportunity to visit Toronto, Ontario and attend an exquisite little show at the Bata Shoe Museum that I had discovered whilst searching the web for my museum exhibits article from April. Despite the specific name of the museum, this beautifully-curated exhibit contained vast amounts of information and a darling selection of extant 19th-century garments, accessories, and related manufacturing equipment, in addition to, of course, a lovely and satisfying variety of shoes.
Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century is a gem of an exhibit that would interest not just lovers of footwear, but those who are fond of the strange, dark, dirty and tragic side of the 1800s.
It’s an open, airy room that Leanna Renee Hieber enters on the sixth floor of the Crowne Plaza hotel. The group waiting for her is small, but nevertheless enthusiastic at her arrival. It’s only 11:30am at Templecon, a Rhode Island-based convention that becomes significantly more active in the evening. Regardless, us early birds are in for a treat. Ms. Hieber’s the kind of person who captivates a room the moment she walks in. Her black corset and bustled skirt are a sharp contrast to the hotel room’s pastels, but more enchanting is the way she speaks and moves. Even before she’s launched into the main topic of The Eterna Files, we’re hooked.
If you have a taste for the macabre, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire is a little polished gem of jet for those with perhaps a bleaker mindset, but also for those who simply possess an interest in the history of costume and fashion.