The 24,000-square-foot Barry Art Museum at Old Dominion University private opening launched on Nov. 13. The state-of-the-art museum was funded by the generosity of local benefactors and collectors Richard and Carolyn Barry - the most significant contribution in ODU history. Museum visitors were able to explore the extensive Barry collections, which includes American modernist paintings, historical fashion dolls, European automata, and glass art.
A museum showcasing antique dolls, presented as an art form, is a remarkable experience. The range, quality, and presentation of the doll collections are mesmerizing. We are all painfully aware of the challenges of museums in general, the antique dolls and automata are world class exhibitions, and offer a unique opportunity to view and study this as art.
The concept of the fashion doll evolved in the mid 1800s in Paris as over a century, the idea of miniature mannequins done to showcase available fashion and emerging new styles to a clientele spread over the mostly European world, morphed into a play doll supported by an entire Paris industry to create the fashion, hats, shoes, accessories and wigs. The French Fashion doll was launched to later inspire iconic 20th-century fashion dolls like “Cissy” by Madame Alexander and “Barbie” by Mattel for new generations of this celebrated concept of dolls and fashion.
The centerpiece of this collection and gallery is the famous doll designed by the Parisian Antoine E. Rochard, who received a patent for his invention in 1868. Aside from the elegant silk costume in the style Anglais introduced by the British couturier Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895), she is wearing a unique necklace that retains 24 of the original 28 framed micro-photographs (so-called Stanhopes) of tourist sites in Paris and around France. The encapsulated photos are covered with small glass viewing lenses, which magnify the image about 160 times, making them visible when held close to the eye. A very costly and time-laborious system, it was short-lived — less than a handful of these dolls exist today. Selling for over $300,000 through the auction house Theriault’s, proved to be an impressive draw of quests and fellow collectors. President of Theriault’s, Stuart Holbrook is a lead consultant for the Barry antique doll collection and exhibition.
Costumes for The Favourite
Sandy Powell’s Costume Designs
The Favourite is a movie about women and the power struggles between them. Each of the three main characters represents a singular female persona in the fight for number one: Churchill is the confident leader already in place, sturdy and forthright in her views; Masham is the rags-to-riches newcomer fighting tooth and nail for acceptance; and Queen Anne is at the top of the trifecta, the frail and distraught matriarch in desperate need of love and affection. Powell’s costumes brilliantly underscore each woman and highlight her personal pursuits. “Each of these three characters were completely different people,” she says. “We had to really think about how we could treat them differently, because back then women all wore the exact same thing; they all wore these elaborate dresses.”
Why Holiday Windows Still Matter
For the most important selling season of the year, the venerable department stores of New York have marshaled their resources for elaborate displays of festive cheer. These are a family tradition and a tourist destination, a spare-no-expense arms race for delighted gasps, bugged eyes and Instagram feeds.
There are the classicists (Macy’s, Lord & Taylor), the innovators (Barneys New York) and the razzle-dazzlers (Bergdorf, Saks Fifth Avenue), but whatever the style, the import is clear. November and December are the biggest months in retail, and the windows help suck customers in, not with product so much as theme. Even for those who can’t make it to the windows, those themes radiate outward, setting the tone for the season: in store, online, in mailers and on all-important social media, a 360-degree wallop of shoppable holiday spirit.