New Exhibition at Bata Shoe Museum Explores Dangers of Fashion
TORONTO, June 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – The Bata Shoe Museum is excited to
announce the opening of its newest exhibition, Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century.
Swathed from head to toe in expensive garments and shod in delicate
footwear, fashion-forward women graced the boulevards and the ballrooms
with their colourful presence. Their tailored male companions cut
equally refined figures in their black coats, spotless white linens,
lustrous top hats and shiny boots. Yet, presenting an elegant exterior
was not without its perils for both the makers and wearers of fashion.
Curated by Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator, Bata Shoe Museum and
Dr. Alison Matthews David, Associate Professor, Ryerson University and
building on Dr. Matthews David’s research into the dangers of dress in
the 19th century, this exhibition explores a wide variety of pleasures
and perils associated with fashion. In addition to highlighting
exquisite examples of footwear and clothing from the 19th century, the
exhibition also explores many of the often untold stories related to
fashion and its production. Included in the exhibition are the dangers
of dresses and shoes dyed arsenic green, the plight of mad hatters and
mercury poisoning as well as the effects of constricting corsets and
impossibly narrow footwear. The exhibition also looks at shifts in the
making of fashion from independent craft to fragmented labour completed
in garrets or on factory floors. The move from traditional shoemaking
to factory-made footwear is also emphasized as is the role of those
workers who were integral to the presentation of the fashionable figure
from the seamstress to the shoeshine boy.
Featuring over ninety artifacts from the Bata Shoe Museum’s extensive
holdings augmented by loans from private collections the exhibition
highlights dresses that span the century, mauve-hued footwear dyed with
the first coal tar colours invented in 1856, beautiful hand-embroidered
boots manufactured by the exclusive Parisian shoemaking firm of
Francois Pinet, impossibly narrow Adelaide boots and gloves worn by
Empress Elisabeth of Austria and a corset with a sixteen-inch waist
from the Cleaver/Suddon collection.
Fashion Victims: The Pleasures & Perils of Dress in the 19th Century will be on view until June 2016.
SOURCE Bata Shoe Museum