'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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April 6, 2014

Thinking Pink



 
 
Just back from a morning at the Museum of Fine Arts. I love to go there, for many reasons, but today I went there specifically to see an exhibit with the same name as this song.  How could I not? ... as someone who could find something pink in every corner of her apartment/office/closet/blog template/make-up drawer/dish cupboard/linen closet/refrigerator, and as someone who keeps saying she doesn't always have time to do the things she wants to do when what she really means is that she doesn't always make the time.
 
The exhibit opened with a quote from this song {and now I'm desperate to see the movie}, and was organized by a curator interested in the cultural history of 'pink is for girls.' It was very interesting to learn that this idea only took deliberate hold in the 1920s and 1930s, in part as a marketing strategy, in part as part of more strongly delineated roles for men and women. 
 
The displays explained that the name of the color comes from carnations, also known as 'pinks,' as does the snipped edge we make with 'pinking shears,' noting that an exquisite doll's dress from the 18th century is 'both pink and pinked.'  There's a man's suit of clothes, in mauvey-pink velvet, from the same period, and a portrait of two little boys, in white dresses with pink underskirts (noting that in early America, both boys and girls wore dresses until the boys were 'breached' at about 8 years old.)
 
And, oh, the dresses. I walked around this small exhibit two or three times, because it was hard to stop gazing at the embroidered silk evening coat from Liberty's of London {I had a beautiful pink silk jacket about 25 years ago, and I still wish I had kept it, just to be able to see that lovely thing hanging in my closet}, the beaded 'flapper dress' from the 1920s, a time when pairing pale pink and black {something I did just last Thursday} was considered 'daring and ultramodern,' to an evening dress pairing black with the 'shocking pink' that Elsa Schiaparelli introduced in 1939 {I don't love every pink}, to a rose-strewn Dior strapless evening gown from 1956 and a even-pinker rose-strewn Dolce + Gabbana dress from 1995 {loved those}. 
 


 
I also wandered through an exhibit showing Boston's connection with Impressionism, and an amazing gallery-full of quilts, and saw some of my old friends in the American wing, and the hundreds of flags made for us last year, which it was good to see again. ... but most of all, it was the pink.
 
{I'm sending this over to Dolce Bellezza's
'Dolci' fr
om this week,' because it was. :)}
 
 
 
 


3 comments:

Bellezza said...

Oh, I wish I could have gone with you! And, I didn't know about your passion for pink! It sounds like my passion for red, in that we have our favorite color everywhere. Surround yourself with what you love, right? This most certainly qualifies, more than!, sweetness for the week.

Cosy Books said...

I have a wedding to go to in June and that 1920s flapper dress would make the day extra fun. Lucky you, Audrey, the exhibit sounds wonderful!

JaneGS said...

Sounds like a fantastic exhibit--I love the photos you provided. I didn't know "pink is for girls" is such a recent and marketing-driven phenomenon. Interesting.

Thank you for visiting!

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