“It’s all about the dress” is more than an often-heard expression. Fashion is at once a means by which an individual can convey their identity and a collective statement of a given epoch. Sartorial considerations and determinations play a key role in Mobile’s extended Carnival season. From the Camellia Ball on the Eve of Thanksgiving to the wee hours of Fat Tuesday evening, the art of dress sets a tone for countless occasions. Right Off of the Royal Runway…: Carnival and Couture employs the vehicle of fashion to convey unique aspects of Mobile’s Carnival culture and style. A selection of over thirty ensembles dating from the 1920's to 2020 have been displayed so to impart impulses and looks that are at once local, national, and international in reach. Themes include: the creative process (who designed what), style (what is it); function (the event); and the spirit of the times (what epoch). The goal of this exhibit is to nuance how the design, creation, and donning of a given garment speaks to a time, a place, and most importantly a tradition – Carnival in Mobile More than just a gallery of vintage chic, the gowns and accessories comprising Right Off of the Royal Runway…: Carnival & Couture tell the stories informing one-of-a-kind creations. This exhibit “undresses” the dress so to speak. The form, fun, and fabric of the tales are just as jaw-dropping as the gowns themselves. This exhibit would not be possible without the support and cooperation of the following: the gracious individuals and families who loaned pieces from their or a family member’s wardrobe; the History Museum of Mobile; The Holiday, particularly guest curators Sarah S. Thomas and Mary-Lacey R. Zeiders; and the numerous individuals who graciously shared treasured pieces from their own closets.
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