Clothing exhibit examines historical women’s styles

Drawing from the collections of Ivan Sayers, Claus Jahnke, as well as the extensive Nanaimo Museum Collection, the new exhibit – Women’s fashions of La Belle Époque – features the gorgeous fashions, sumptuous fabrics and intricate accessories of the period 1890-1914.

Drawing from the collections of Ivan Sayers, Claus Jahnke, as well as the extensive Nanaimo Museum Collection, the new exhibit – Women’s fashions of La Belle Époque – features the gorgeous fashions, sumptuous fabrics and intricate accessories of the period 1890-1914.

The period represents a time when fashionable clothing was becoming more accessible to everyone.

Fashions of this era celebrated the peak of luxury that was enjoyed by the very wealthy. It also represented a time of significant social change for women, many of whom were becoming well-educated.

Women were also entering the workforce in large numbers and styles began to change.

This period in time was one of peace and security before the horrors of the First World War.

With many technological innovations in transportation and manufacturing, this was also an era of great scientific and technological advancement in Europe and the world in general.

Guest curator Ivan Sayers is a fashion historian who specializes in the study of women’s, men’s, and children’s fashions, from 1650 to the present.

A graduate of the University of B.C., Sayers was the Vancouver Museum’s curator of history from 1976-1990.

He is known in Vancouver’s small fashion community because of the lectures and historical fashion shows he presents.

Sayers has one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of historic clothing in private hands across Canada, and has produced fashion shows, lectures, and exhibitions all over western and central North America.

He jokes that his collection is so vast that he sleeps in the dining room of his three-bedroom home.

As curator for the Original Costume Museum Society, a group dedicated to preserving historical clothing from around the world, the society’s collection is held  in part at Sayers’ private residence.

The Nanaimo Museum exhibit will be on display Sept. 2 to Dec. 31.

A guided lecture by Sayers will take place at the museum Sept. 21 and Nov. 19.

To reserve a spot, please call 250-753-1821.