Marsya Wornette

I am an Eternal Intern Extraordinaire. My volunteer career began in tenth grade, one Fall/Winter season in a Toronto Fashion Week, and it is still going strong. I am the Curator/Director of Freedom Clothing Collective, (a non-profit cooperative run by volunteers to support local emerging artists, designers, and musicians) and an assistant in research and archival work at the Textiles and Costumes division of the Royal Ontario Museum.

How do I survive in life (read: afford awesome clothes)? Well, that’s where my marketable Masters of Creative Problem Solving shows its worth – I’ve got Mom and Dad’s old clothes (Mom being the ultimate fashion icon and dad being the skinny, geeky artist type), my grandmother’s old jewelry (she made a career out of diamonds), my boyfriend’s closet (being his stylist is part of my vocation to volunteer), thrift hunts, garage sale finds, and various upcycled garments.

The history of clothing and the possibility of memories woven into garments never fail to amuse me. When you wear clothes, you tell people stories. I’m interested in sharing the tales, myths and legends behind clothes.

Current Inspirations

Fashion Is My Muse
This is a great fashion blog that has a historical perspective. A fresh alternative to random musings of tween fashionistas, that’s for sure! The blogger, Ingrid Mida, is always involved with the projects of Friends of Textiles and Costumes at the Royal Ontario Museum. She also has a new blog that very much appeals to my interest in the memories in garments.

Stil in Berlin
Even though I was sick and constantly cold when I was visiting Berlin, I loved it because everyone’s style was elaborately stylish and structurally genius. I got the same feeling from this blog. They also have a section called “At Home” where they feature inspiring individuals in their respective homes. For those who also love the architecture in Berlin, there is Stillos in Berlin.

Acne Paper
Well, obviously the actual magazine itself is better, but they have provided some beautiful pages here too. And here.

A resource on poetry and art by established and emerging artists! This chapter is dedicated to avant-garde films – all available for streaming. It’s for those days when a season at Cinematheque Ontario has just ended and we feel just too cool for surfthechannel.

Old Jews Telling Jokes
This really is an inspiration! It induces the kind of uncontrollable laughter that releases that stress in your brain so that you may resume creating fantastic things.

The Vanity Fair Time Warp

Cary Grant by George Hoyningen-Huene 1934 Vanity Fair,
November 1934 © Condé Nast Publications Inc. / Courtesy Condé Nast Archive

Walking into the Vanity Fair Portraits exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum is like stepping into a time warp. No one takes photos, all is silent, and people walk around, discussing quietly amongst themselves the lives of celebrities I’m much too young to recognize.

On one side of the maze of rooms, black-and-white images of film stars, writers, artists and dancers line the walls. The photographs are smaller than I anticipated. I recognize few names and even fewer faces.  On the other side, there are much larger, mostly colour portraits of people I’ve seen in movies and on television for my entire life. The contrast is striking.

The first collection of portraits, taken between 1913 and 1936, before Vanity Fair’s mid-life hiatus, contains eerily staged snapshots of the best-known celebrities of the time. In one image, film star Cary Grant, clad in a cardigan and pleated pants, leans against a wall, smiling and gazing towards the camera. It’s easy to see how he captured the hearts of young women in his day like Brad Pitt does today. In another, actor and director Charlie Chaplin sits pretty with a stern stare in a crisp black suit.

With the notable exceptions of Josephine Baker, who poses in a rather tiny dancing outfit, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr and Joan Crawford, who lounge on a beach in swimwear, the vast majority of the Vintage Vanity Fair portrait subjects are fully and immaculately dressed.

Julianne Moore as Ingres’s ‘Grand Odalisque’, New York City,
by Michael Thompson 2000
Vanity Fair, April 2000 © 2000 Michael Thompson

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