Dancing, exhibitions, archives and more

Lori before her Irreverent Dance pointe examAs you’ve probably noticed, I appear to have lost my blogging mojo this month. I felt a bit guilty when the lovely Shasleigh from My Betty Woo mentioned Rarely Wears Lipstick in her recent post on blogs she loves reading, as there’s not been much new content here lately. Not a single blog post has been published so far in May (although some exist as part-written drafts) and I’m now sat here on a sunny Sunday afternoon wondering how that happened. So, I checked my diary and found… well, quite a lot has been going on in the last few weeks!

I started the month with an exam at IDHQ, showing off my pointe skills to a real ballet examiner who was working to Irreverent Dance’s rules. It was a lovely day of thoughtful quiet community, which ended with a celebratory pub visit.

A couple of days later, I was at London’s Jewish Museum for a menswear study day linked to their current exhibition called Moses, Mods and Mr Fish. It’s well worth a visit as the compact exhibition space is jam packed with information on the impact made by Jewish tailoring firms since the nineteenth century, including well known names like Burtons. There are plenty of interesting facts, stunning garments and fascinating videos to guide you through this menswear journey, plus a dressing up area if you want to get hands on. They were filming a promotional video on the day I visited, and I think it perfectly sums up why you should visit if you have even the slightest interest in menswear.

The following day was a bit less serious as it involved a cinema trip to see the marvellous Captain America: Civil War. This was everything Batman vs Superman wanted to be and more. Even Spiderman didn’t suck, which has to be a cinematic first, in my opinion. I was torn between who to support as the battles raged on screen – Team Cap or Team Iron Man – but that’s because the issues were not presented as black and white. The moral grey areas left everything very human and accessible, for a superhero movie.

Lori in the Museum of London's dress and textiles archiveLater that week, I spent an afternoon in the Museum of London Archives, looking at some of their vast dress and textiles collection. Under the expert guidance of curator Timothy Long (who, incidentally, is well worth following on Twitter), I took a careful look at a selection of undergarments that I had chosen from their online catalogue – from early twentieth century ‘bust improvers’ to CC41 labelled men’s utility underpants and then 1960s Mary Quant shapewear. It was a visit that has definitely inspired further research. Before leaving the museum, I took a look at the Tattoo London exhibition and vowed to go back again to go round the permanent displays.

The end of that week saw the sad closing of the Irreverent Dance home, IDHQ, but we went out dancing with a wonderful glittery rainbow coloured party full of joy and friendship. The outfits were fabulous, the playlist was superb, and late-night DJ Gianna ensured that the dance floor was on fire until the early hours of Saturday morning. While this was going on, London’s new mayor was announced and we were all extremely proud that our city elected Sadiq Khan, choosing “hope over fear, and unity over division.”

Garments on display at Manchester Art Gallery's Fashion and Freedom exhibitionThe following week I met up with a wonderful ex-colleague for drinks, chats and reminiscing. Then I was off to Manchester for the launch of the wonderful Fashion and Freedom exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery, curated by fellow Irreverent Dancer and all round excellent human Jenna Rossi-Camus. Celebrating and inspired by the changes to women’s lives during WW1, the exhibition brings together garments from the gallery’s archives along with outfits, photographs and short fils created especially for the exhibition by big names and undergraduate students at some of the UK’s top fashion colleges. Overall, the exhibition is extremely beautiful and also very thought provoking. If I can get my act together, there will be a review of it coming soon. And to bring that week to an end, as two fashion exhibitions in one month just isn’t enough, I headed back to Undressed at the V&A with a bunch of wonderful Kiss Me Deadly fans, to talk pants… and more!

It’s all been wonderful but rather exhausting so, thankfully, this last week has been much less hectic which is why I found time to start working on a few blog posts. Hopefully I can get some of them scheduled in for your reading pleasure this week so that May 2016 isn’t a complete washout here at Rarely Wears Lipstick.

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