Today's post is courtesy of Associate Curator Christina Johnson. Using a bright pink Stephen Sprouse ensemble as an example, Christina describes how we bring garments to life with research, mannequins, accessories, and styling. Thanks to Christina for documenting this process!
This hot pink knit sweater and skirt doesn’t really look like much draped on a dressmaking form. True, the bright pink is exciting, but doesn’t the ensemble look sloppy, even dowdy in silhouette? It’s difficult to date the garments, or really understand their context as seen here. Yes, it would probably help if our dress form wasn’t missing its own arms! It would also help if the ensemble was accessorized with its matching tights and belt. This image is a quick reference photograph, shot for curatorial research purposes, so it really shouldn’t be compared with garments as dressed for exhibition. It represents an ensemble before styling. What goes into styling mannequins for exhibition? I think the steps generally boil down to: vision, research & collaboration.