Fashion at the Museum

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by William J. Dowd


The idea of holding a fashion show benefit doesn’t seem like a stretch for a city like Lynn, as it is a place where the textile and shoe industries were, at one point, the backbone of the city.   It makes sense to capitalize on this history and flaunt it, Lynn Museum and Historical Society did last week.


On Thursday, the museum held a “Wearable Art” benefit, showcasing the museum’s collection of clothing that spans the past couple decades, a fashion show took place, and vendors selling upcycled  and eco-friendly clothing and accessories overtook the upper floor of the museum.


“We designed the event as “Wearable Art” to distinguish it from a true fashion show,” commented Kate Luchini the Museum’s executive director.   The committee, Luchini attributed,  wanted to highlight the Museum’s collection of wearable art through an exhibition, but also have the opportunity to showcase the work of a local designer, Sara Campbell.


The evening gave Campbell a chance to showcase her 2011 Spring and Summer line, featuring vibrant colors and unique patterns. During the catwalk Campbell’s voice was the narrator to the fashion show, as LynnHappens editor, Seth Album, provided the music.  She offered up her trendy and  fashion-savvy knowledge for the upcoming season, adding that it’s all about individuality and finding your “vocabulary” and turning that vocabulary into “fashion sentences.” One of the models was, in fact, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy.


Many felt that the fashion show gave the museum an opportunity show a contemporary flare, while at the same time, keeping with the roots and purpose of the museum which is to ultimately educate.


Museum Curator, Abby Battis, alongside a volunteer, spent the past month furiously preparing for the event. They had to sort through thousands of items in their textile collection to finally decide on the pieces they wanted to showcase in various galleries throughout the museum in preparation for the event.


While searching through the collection Battis found some pretty interesting articles of clothing. “There was a very unusual, truly unique set of children’s clothing made entirely out of paper for the 350 centennial of Lynn,” Battis told Luchini who in return told me in an email, however, the staff are puzzled as to how or why they wore paper clothing, while marching in the parade.


They took a chance on something different, and it paid off with good attendance. Luchini said,  “My favorite part of the night was seeing so many new faces, along with so many familiar faces, enjoying themselves at the museum.”


All money raised from benefit will help the museum continue and expand its educational programs, according to Luchini, “The Wearable Art fundraiser was for programs such as our school tour and family days.”


Since Luchini took her post at the museum, just a little over a year ago, there has been quite an increase of pertinent, interesting and creative community and cultural events held at the 115 year old institution.




The second floor featured local artists' tables

She has certainly positioned the museum in a place that exposes the unique qualities of the city’s history. This past year alone,  the museum has had a celebration of Lynn Legacies, roundtable discussions with past and present mayors, and held the second annual History and Hops, and among other events.

Perhaps the way to describe the current morale of the museum can be summed up by the museum’s leadership, “It’s a great institution and we want to share it-it’s nice to be a hidden gem,” added a confident Luchini, “But better to be a bright shinning one.”


On Thursday, May 19th at 6:30 p.m. there is a public welcoming for a behind the scenes tour of the museum.  As Happens reported earlier this week, on Saturday, May 21st the Museum will hold a collectible antique auction, preview starts at 9 a.m., and the auction begins promptly at 11 a.m. Refreshments will be served.


It’s important to note, following the behind the scenes tour on Thursday, those in attendance, will get a stab at placing a pre-bid on objects for Saturday’s auction.


Mayor Kennedy

At the end of the evening

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