Haute Couture and Shocking Schiaparelli at Florida Tech

MELBOURNE, FLA.—Florida Tech will showcase “The Art of Fashion” in two premier cultural events on campus. The university’s annual textiles celebration features a renowned fashion expert of today discussing an icon fashion designer of the past in “Uncommon Threads,” Feb. 21 and 22.

Internationally known textiles specialist Dilys Blum, curator of costume and textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will present a complimentary lecture on Feb. 21 at 4 p.m.. A luncheon symposium on haute couture (high fashion), surrealism and Elsa Schiaparelli takes place on Feb. 22. Blum is author of Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli, based on the museum’s exhibit. Schiaparelli, whose designs were often startling, coined the phrase, “shocking pink,” her trademark shade. Schiaparelli also created a perfume named “Shocking.” Packaged in a pink box, the bottle was in the shape of a curvaceous woman’s torso.

The Feb. 21 lecture, “From Industry to Art: The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Textile and Costume Collection,” will be held in the Gleason Performing Arts Center. Reservations are not required and free parking is available.

Blum will present a visually rich discussion of the museum’s collection, one of the oldest and largest holdings of costume and textiles in North America. Items range from Han dynasty fragments to 18th century fashion to crazy quilts.

“This presentation, about how holdings grew from a small study collection to one of the nation’s largest collections of international textiles is timely and inspiring,” said Carla Funk, Florida Tech director of Fine Arts Programs. “Florida Tech is now embarking on the construction of the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts and our own collection grows more interesting and international each year.” 

The Feb. 22 luncheon symposium features a rich exhibit of haute couture, a gourmet meal, a silent auction and more surprises. Blum will speak at 10:30 a.m. on 20th century fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973), the subject of the recent blockbuster exhibit curated by Blum, which traveled to Paris.
Blum’s lecture is “Dressing the Surrealist Woman: Elsa Schiaparelli and Her Contemporaries.” The lecture, followed by a champagne reception and three-course lunch, costs $60. Proceeds go to the university’s textiles program.

“I’m excited that the luncheon symposium will highlight Schiaparelli,” said Funk. “She is a groundbreaking female designer who truly embodies the synthesis of art and fashion. Her designs, simultaneously sophisticated and whimsical, reflect her collaborations with surrealist artists as Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali.”

Blum has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the textile arts. Prior to 20 years as curator of costume and textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, she held posts at the Chicago Conservation Center in Illinois; the Museum of London in England; the Brooklyn Museum in New York; the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Lancashire, England; and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
She has organized numerous exhibitions, including “A Passion for Perfection: James Galanos,” “Gustave Tassell and Ralph Rucci,” “Best Dressed: 250 Years of Style” and “Ahead of Fashion: Hats of the 20th Century.”

For more information, or tickets to the Feb. 22 luncheon symposium, contact Carla Funk at (321) 674-6129, or Jenny McCoy at (321) 674-6152.

PHOTOS: top left: Uncommon Threads Committee photo from Left to Right: Cressie Murphy-David, Cherie Thompson, Judi William, Ritva Bowman, Toni Alper, Nancy Austin, Carla Funk, Sara Catanese, Ruth Funk, (Missing from photo: Mary Fox)

 top right: Carla Funk, Florida Tech director of Fine Arts Programs, poses with vintage Schiaparelli hats, Schiaparelli book by Dilys Blum and sample flower table arrangements for the February 22 Uncommon Threads luncheon.

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