Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cut the Couture: I'll Do It Myself

"In these hard times — Dress Up! Do it yourself," proclaimed couture designer Vivienne Westwood in a hand-scrawled note reproduced for the 25th Anniversary of London’s Fashion Week. Included in the manifesto were her own unique suggestions, such as making clothes from “shawls, blankets, table cloths, curtains, towels, or a meter of beautiful fabric,” using “kerchiefs worn as knickers (good for disco or the beach) or tied up as a bag,” and to create a “necklace out of safety-pins.” While Westwood's statement was not entirely unexpected from a founder of punk rock fashion, it was either an excellent self-promotion stunt or an indicator of the cultural shift in favor of hand-making clothes over shopping.

The Art, Music and Recreation Center invites you take Dame Westwood’s challenge to heart and to ‘Cut the Couture.’ On exhibit in the Art, Music and Recreation Center’s wall case is a selection of D.I.Y. clothing books to instruct and inspire you. The projects presented range from ‘punk-rock’ and urban influenced designs (see books below), to ones encouraging material reuse and restructuring, to more artistic pursuits such as silk painting.

To view the exhibit or for the complete bibliography, please visit the library.

"Cut the Couture: I’ll Do It Myself" is an adjunct exhibition to House of Nat: Fashion Tips from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor in the library's Skylight Gallery. It will be on display through the end of May.
Vivienne Westwood by Claire Wilcox. (London: V & A Publications, 2004).

Pretty in Punk: 25 Punk, Rock, And Goth Knitting Projects by Alyce Benevides and Jaqueline Milles; photographs by Rob Benevides. (San Francisco : Chronicle Books, 2007).

Subversive Seamster: Transform Thrift Store Threads Into Street Couture by Melissa Alvarado, Hope Meng, Melissa Rannels; photographs by Matthew Carden. (Newtown, CT: Taunton Press, 2007).

Punk Knits: 26 Hot New Designs For Anarchistic Souls And Independent Spirits by Share Ross; Photographs by Bam Ross. (New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2007).

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