Friday, June 3, 2016

A Day In Forest Park

Most of our day Wednesday was spent at the History Museum, which if some of you are not aware, is located in Forest Park.  And this time by the word "we" I am meaning my sister Julia instead of my husband John.  I have had a wonderful week with my sister instead of John, as he has been quite busy setting up our new computer - which has proven to be a  rather challenging and frustrating task for him.  Now I am giving it a go, what with writing my first posting on the new device, and it has proven to also be quite a mountain for me to climb.  I am sure that with time I will look back at my first days with this computer and simply laugh.

Our reason for visiting the History Museum was to learn the history of the little black dress.  That is one of the special exhibits currently at the museum, and probably something only the female gender would appreciate- I am sure that John was glad we spared him!   For my sister and I, it proved to be quite interesting.  Black use to be the color for mourning only.  In 1861 Queen Victoria wore it to grieve the death of Prince Albert,  and all classes of people followed suit.  Rules were then developed, including the color of dress, fabric and length of time to mourn.  Accessories were also important.  For jewelry acorns worn as necklaces indicated one was morning someone who  had a long life,  grape leaves indicated the Christian faith.
On display is the bonnet Mary Todd Lincoln wore at the time of her husband's death, also the black ribbon people wore which had his picture on it.
The one pictured above was made in 1965, maker unknown.  It seemed that the whole section in this exhibit on mourning seemed to digress from the topic of the little black dress, but it was still fascinating.
But on to the little black dress, which became a fashion statement, other than for mourning, at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the twentieth century.  Women started wearing dresses of that color in industrial cities to hide the dirt and grime.  Dresses also became shorter to save fabric and to help the war effort.  In 1922 Emily Post wrote: "Nothing really can compare to the utility and smartness of black".  In 1926 Coco Chanel gained fame for her little black dresses.  By the 1960s the younger generation had taken over the style, and thought nothing of wearing black as a suit or a dress; to wear it for an evening out or for a day in the office.
Black is also considered chic for a wedding dress.  The mermaid-style dress pictured above was created in 2014 by designer Enzoani.  What  I enjoyed about this exhibit was seeing all the different styles of black dresses, mainly through the 20th century.  After our tour of this exhibit we were quite anxious to get outside and do some walking.  The zoo in Forest Park is where we went next.
 I wrote about this polar bear cub several years ago.  Baby Kali is now a three and a half year-old and weights a whopping thousand pounds.  Her keeper had hidden lettuce and carrots in her pool, so she was quite actively swimming about sticking her head and arms into small rock cavities searching for  the goodies.  What a beautiful bear!  And I did not realize until now that I have moved from black to white subjects, totally coincidental!

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