Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Supremes. Vintage Rhinestones, Beads, Glass Pearls, Part 1

At the Experience Music Project, a music museum in Seattle, there is currently a fabulous exhibit for those of you who love vintage glass bits, baubles, rhinestones, pearls, costumes, and the Supremes.  It is called Reflections: The Mary Wilson Supreme Legacy Collection. 

Mary Wilson of the Supremes loaned her collection of 1960's and 1970's Supremes costumes and gowns for this exhibit. I visited the exhibit today and was IN AWE of the amazing costumes and of all the vintage embellishments.  It was a great opportunity to see the use to which many of the baubles available at Bumbershoot Supplies were put - kind of like seeing them in nature, in the wild... :) This is the first of 2 posts in which I will share what I saw.

The dresses above were worn in a command performance for Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother in 1968.  They are a lattice of glass pearls and crystal aurora borealis rhinestones, set in metal settings, everything individually sewn onto the fabric.

Photographic quality is limited since we could not use flash and we had to stand a distance away, but I am really grateful to be able to get some photos of these amazing gowns.

The bodices of the gowns above were encrusted with rhinestones, seed beads and lots of turquoise lucite beads and pendants.

This amazing coat is covered with rhinestones, sequins, bugle beads, and some really large glass beads around the edges, probably 10-12mm in size. The size of the beads surprised me. The huge emerald rhinestone buttons are absolutely gorgeous.  And notice the big emerald sew on glass teardrop at the neckline of the gown. Overall in the gowns I saw, there were more glass embellishments - lucite was not used very frequently.

Dark emerald rhinestone straps, emeralds set into metal settings, then sewn onto fabric.

I was really glad to hear from one of the museum staff that the alarms around the costumes had been turned off. Apparently everyone was doing exactly what I was doing, leaning in as close as possible to the gowns to get a really good look at them, and holding their cameras as close as possible. This was triggering the alarms constantly. Plus, when the alarms went off, some folks were so startled that they even fell into the exhibits! All in all, the decision to add extra staff instead was a great choice from my perspective, since I could get a really good look and these photos.

This dress features big 25x18mm crystal rhinestones sewn onto the back of this red velvet number...

Part 2 coming shortly...

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