Today, high up in the third-floor flat, Wornettes are whistling while they work. The tune? The Mary Tyler Moore theme song. The reason? (And no, we didn’t hire someone with a trust fund burning a hole in their pocket.) We are nominated for a National Magazine Award! Yes, the powers that be in the Canadian magazine empire conferred this nomination upon us for the cover of Issue 7! We’re up against some tough competition. There’s Toronto Life, Maisonneuve, and Vancouver Magazine to name a few… but, hey, maybe we’ll make it after all. We’d also like to congratulate our fellow indies, and our amigos at Spacing, The Walrus, THIS, Taddle Creek, and Broken Pencil. The winners are announced on June 5th at the NMA gala at Carlu in T.O.
disclaimer: That is not a photograph of Audrey Hepburn. She has never read a copy of Worn. We are in no way implying that Audrey Hepburn would absolutely love reading an issue of Worn.
When I discovered Cliff Muskiet’s website my sister and I engaged in an hour-long contest over who could find the wackiest stewardess uniform. (Her money was on the oil rich countries. I went for those with names like “Lion Air.” She won.) Cliff has received international attention for his collection, even appearing on television in Germany, the UK, Russia, and here in Canada. And with good reason, his collection currently sits at 820 airline attendant uniforms – all in pristine condition.
Herewith, the “uniform freak” in his own words:
In the beginning…
Ever since my early childhood I have been fascinated by civil aviation. The first flight I made (and that I can remember) was from New York to Amsterdam in 1970. I was five years old. I slept during the whole flight and when we arrived in Amsterdam, I was so disappointed because I couldn’t remember anything about the flight. I began to draw airplanes and I started to cut airplane pictures out of travel magazines. Every month I would go to Amsterdam and visit the airline offices and I would come home with bags filled with postcards, posters, and folders about the airlines and airplanes. I also cleaned airplanes in the summertime at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport when I was 15, 16, 17, and 18 years old.
My unique collection began in 1980, when I was given a KLM uniform. It was an old uniform from 1971. My mother was a nurse and she had a colleague who also was a part-time stewardess. At that time I thought, “This is great, I want to have more uniforms!” In 1982 I got two other uniforms from two Dutch charter airlines that changed uniforms that year. From 1982 until 1993 I didn’t do much to obtain more uniforms, something I really regret now because I could have many more. Ten years later, in 1993, I was in Accra in Ghana working for KLM, when I obtained some old Ghana Airways uniforms without any problem. When I received these uniforms, I started to contact other airlines. Most of my 800 uniforms were obtained between 1993 and today.
In keeping with its moniker, most would consider the pieces selected for “Fashion No-no” anything but wearable. (Much to the dismay of the preteen girls who strayed from their class trip to see fashion!)
Instead of couture, we’re offered six reactions to environment, form, and how it all relates to the female body. Curator Paola Poletto, a new media and design professional, reigned in such amorphous ideas by choosing pieces that expressed the most varied points of view. In Traveler’s Tale, Sarah Dorkenwald and Ruth Spitzer printed images from domestic life (coffee percolator, a chair) alongside fuzzy, dream-like ones (a sinking ship?) onto large pieces of fabric meant to “affix to the body,” thereby invoking the notion of carrying – and of being – all the stuff of our life.
The Girl in the Wood Frock, Andrea Ling’s adaptation of a fairy tale (A girl escapes her father/husband by floating away in a river wearing a wood frock. She is saved by a prince, but must remain in the dress.) defies the implicit constrictions of a wooden dress by turning the tale on its head. In the accompanying photographs, the dress is presented in motion; the “girl” jumps and dances while wearing the object of her imprisonment. The dress is beautiful – three nest-like forms made from strips of black cherry veneer attach to a mini-dress made of pressed wool felt. It’s more like a cocoon than a cage.
Joanna Berzowka’s Skorpions are white “dresses” that use a shape-memory alloy called Nitinol to organically move and change on the body. Berzowka emphasizes the parasitic nature of Skorpions, though thematically, they resonate more when considered for their protective and chameleon-like qualities.
One misstep in “Fashion No-no” was the inclusion of Linda Imai’s Purses. Imai used unconventional materials – dog hair, aluminium pop tabs, and recycled plastic – to assemble eight bags. The idea of separating the object from its traditional use is an interesting one; however, Hilly Yeung’s shoes in Objects to Die For nailed this idea by removing designer shoes from their pedestals and presenting them simply and accessibly in crisp white paper.
That said, “Fashion No-no” presents a diverse discussion on form, often concluding with the artist reappropriating and subverting traditional feminine ideals from around the world (see Annie Thompson’s Les Madamoiselles). Since there are so few fashion exhibitions in Toronto, “Fashion No-no” is well worth it for anyone itching for a little social commentary with their design.
January 24 – March 8
York Quay Centre, Visual Arts Exhibitions
235 Queens Quay West, Toronto
Woody Allen is consistently praised for creating challenging roles for women. His ability to score with a great many of them (either as himself or through Virgil, Sandy, Gabe, Boris…) must be reward for this happy fact. Woody’s women are an inimitable breed: often brilliant, self-sufficient, and nervous, with similar sartorial traits. This is most obviously exemplified by Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. (True story, Annie’s Ralph Lauren duds are based on Keaton’s own wardrobe. The costume designer, Ruth Morley, wasn’t having it. It was the first and last time she worked with Allen.)