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LECTURE – From Fragile to Funky: Flowers in Fashionable Fabrics, 1500-2000

February 8, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

$10 – $20
Christian Dior printed silk/linen with florals

Christian Dior printed silk/linen with florals

Fashions may come and go, but as we’ll hear from FIDM Museum’s Leigh Wishner, floral motifs in textiles are perennial. Carnations, pansies, and roses decorated the most sumptuous Renaissance fabrics in a codified, symbolic system; “tulip mania” enthralled European collectors and textile designers in the seventeenth century, harmonizing with a surge in published botanical studies and naturalistic themes in silk weaving.  Orientalist flora on Indian and Chinese export goods held sway in the Age of Enlightenment, while historical revivals in the nineteenth century saw bolder versions of bygone floral patterns.  Art Nouveau artists arranged irises and poppies in fresh, exciting compositions, and catapulted a whole host of blossoms, blooms, and buds into the modern, twentieth-century world—a world that at times proclaimed “Ornament is Crime!” and, at others, “Flower Power!”

This colorfully illustrated lecture will span five hundred years of flowers that never fade in apparel and furnishing textiles. Whether woven or printed, embroidered or embellished with trompe l’oeil petals and three-dimensional bouquets, or pushed to their abstract limits in design, flowers continually captivate and provide endless sources of natural inspiration to fashion designers and interior decorators.


Leigh Wishner is Museum Coordinator at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museum, Los Angeles. From 2012-2017, she was a Curatorial Assistant in the Costume and Textiles department at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Before returning to California, Ms. Wishner was an associate at Cora Ginsburg LLC, a New York gallery specializing in antique textiles and clothing, for over ten years. Her background includes a B.A. in Art History and Archaeology from Barnard College, NY, and a M.A. in Decorative Arts/Fashion and Textile History from Bard Graduate Center, NY.  Ms. Wishner has presented papers at Costume Society of America and Textile Society of America national symposia; most recently, she was invited to speak at and participate in the panel discussion Designed for Living: Mid-Century American Textiles at New York University and at FIDM Museum’s Fashion Council luncheon, offered in conjunction with their exhibition Sun-Drenched Style: California Mid-Century Women Designers.

Tickets: $10 Textile Arts Council; $15 PMH Members; $20 General.  Tickets include entrance to the Galleries starting at 5:00 pm and a wine and cheese reception. Advanced ticket purchase is recommended, visit https://flowersinfashion.brownpapertickets.com/.

If you are a Gold Needle Textile Arts Council member, and you would like to use one or both of your complementary lecture tickets, please email mturner@pasadenahistory.org.

Image: Evening Gown. Marc Bohan for Christian Dior Spring-Summer 1963. Printed silk/linen plain weave & silk organza flowers. FIDM Museum Collection (77.116.3 ), Gift of Mrs. Alfred Bloomingdale.


February 8, 2018
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
$10 – $20
Event Category:


Pasadena Museum of History


Pasadena Museum of History
470 W. Walnut Street
Pasadena, CA 91103 United States
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