Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Exhibit: Fashion Kills!



Bata Shoe Museum's Fashion Victims Exhibition Review

The phrase "Fashion Victim" is not a modern day term as I quickly learned during my visit last week to the Bata Shoe Museum's newest exhibit Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century. From toxic dyes to mercury laced hats, the label "Fashion Victims" was indeed taken more literally during the 19th Century.

Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century Exhibit at Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Culture, The Purple Scarf, Melanie.Ps, Dress, Ontario, Canada, Clothing, History, Disease, Factory, Sewing, Arsenic Green

An arsenic green dyed dress is the centerpiece of this show, but my attention was taken by mauve dyed clothing, that was developed in 1856 using toxic coal sludge. Purple was the "it" colour (kind of like 2014:), but people developed skin rashes from this beautiful toxic hue, named Mauve Measles, after wearing this beautiful colour head to toe! Oh the horror!

Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century Exhibit at Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Culture, The Purple Scarf, Melanie.Ps, Dress, Ontario, Canada, Clothing, History, Disease, Factory, Sewing, Arsenic Green 


Women wearing tight laced corsets, and almost impossibly fitting narrow shoes, factory workers and even shoe shine boys all became fashion victims.... quite literally. Even Mad Hatter disease was explained. I always thought it was fictional disease named after Lewis Carroll's famous character, but it was a serious illness that was caused by mercury laced beaver hats.

Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century Exhibit at Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Culture, The Purple Scarf, Melanie.Ps, Dress, Ontario, Canada, Clothing, History, Disease, Factory, Sewing
 Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century Exhibit at Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Culture, The Purple Scarf, Melanie.Ps, Dress, Ontario, Canada, Clothing, History, Disease, Factory, Sewing, Mercury, toxic, Mad Hatter Disease

Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century Exhibit at Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Culture, The Purple Scarf, Melanie.Ps, Dress, Ontario, Canada, Clothing, History, Disease, Factory, Sewing

Although this exhibit is quite small, I thoroughly enjoyed this it. Fashion Victims was interesting and thought provoking. It teaches visitors a fashion history lesson, much like their last major exhibition Out of The Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture. And during my visit, I had the opportunity to have some fun and try on some funky and unique shoes! Please visit Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century for more information.

Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century Exhibit at Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Culture, The Purple Scarf, Melanie.Ps, Dress, Ontario, Canada, Clothing, History, Disease, Factory, Sewing

Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century Exhibit at Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Culture, The Purple Scarf, Melanie.Ps, Dress, Ontario, Canada, Clothing, History, Disease, Factory, Sewing

Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century Exhibit at Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Culture, The Purple Scarf, Melanie.Ps, Dress, Ontario, Canada, Clothing, History, Disease, Factory, Sewing

P.s!: On Saturdays between 1pm - 3pm, visitors can stop by the All About Shoes Gallery to talk with a  museum docent to learn more about the exhibitions. And as always, Thursday nights is pay-what-you-can!

P.s,
Melanie!

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