A few times a year, a massive expo is held at the Concourse Exhibition Center, where you can get a hands-on, visually exhausting crash course in the near-past’s fabulousness. Last weekend saw the SF Modernism Show, a twice-yearly event featuring many of the same vendors as the Vintage Fashion Expo. These exhibits are better-curated and glitzier (i.e. pricier) than your average flea market, but unlike the costume exhibits at museums, here you can touch, and even try on, the wares. We promise that you would be permanently banished from the de Young if you tried that on its current Gaultier exhibit. Here are some examples of the goodness we found:
This was an example of an Egyptian shawl, or “Assuit,” named for the region it comes from. Assuit is cotton or linen mesh and thin strips of metal folded and bent (sometimes with the maker’s teeth!), into the open work. Depending on the wealth of the owner’s family, the metal can be tin or silver, and for a time it was the only thing a woman could legally own. If her family or husband threw her out for whatever reason, she could melt the piece down to sell its metal. Silk’s got nothing on Assuit as far as the shimmering, sensuous way it drapes over the body’s curves — the weight and shine of the metal scraps give the illusion that the wearer is so hot her clothes are literally melting. Some Assuits’ metalwork is embedded into them to form geometric designs; this one is unusual for the entirely pervasive metalwork, making it heavier, shinier, and significantly more expensive than its peers.
A one-stop shop for art book geeks, Miss Twist offered a range of books on art and architecture, as well as fabulous, clever, and literary-themed paper weights. We loved the Dante and Beatrice pair right. (continue reading)