On April 14th, fifteen Cincinnati students hosted a pop up exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum. The exhibit was open to the public from 5-7 p.m. with provided wine and assorted cheeses. The pop up exhibit was the final project for the DAAP fashion course “Documenting A Fashion Icon” and solely based on the mid 1900’s fashion designer Bonnie Cashin. You might have heard of Cashin as she was a main designer for Coach handbags, and also revolutionized sportswear for women.
The class was first offered Fall of 2013 by DAAP librarian Jennifer Krivickas. On average, the class hosts 15 students per semester. Krivickas first created the course after discovering that DAAP was storing away garments usually used for practice for Fashion Design students. After getting a curator to inspect the garments, Krivickas learned that over 200 garments were part of a valuable Bonnie Cashin collection. Following a lot of determination, grant applications, and curating, the course was in full swing and available to students.
The course is built around Cashin and her revolutionary designs. She was all about providing women with clothes that were not only fashionable but also functional. Through the semester, the students learn about Cashin and her career, as well as how to handle and preserve historic garments. Students spend their time in class discussing Cashin, going on trips to the Cincinnati Art Museum, making their own hangers, and learning how to care for clothes.
“In this class, students learn about the significance of cultural heritage institutions and the theory and practice of collection stewardship including: Collection conservation, proper handling, and care; visual & textual documentation; and exhibition/event planning, execution, and promotion. Students also gain an understanding of some of the legal, social, and ethical obligations cultural heritage institutions face and an appreciation for the fact that collections are held in trust for the public and made accessible for the public’s benefit,” Kirvickas explains. All of the work leads up to the final project; the exhibition. Each student picks an item from Cashin’s collection, which is then photographed and displayed.
This year, the class got an even bigger opportunity to hold their exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum as a pop up exhibit to correlate with the Rudi Gernreich “Total Look” exhibition held at the museum February 28 through May 24. Gernreich was another revolutionary designer in Cashin’s time and both worked towards the same goal of giving women bold and different clothing during their time. The pop exhibit had a great turn of about 60 people within the two hours. In addition to the exhibit, the students created a website featuring the selected garments, student biographies, and information about the class and Bonnie Cashin. Check it out for yourself at http://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/blogs/bonnie-cashin/