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IWD at the Initiative for a Women’s Museum in Victoria, Canada

Darlene Clover, founder of the initiative for a Women’s Museum in Victoria, Canada visited two exhibitions in Toronto. One was of Christian Dior at the Royal Ontario Museum and the other, “Victims of Fashion” at the Bata Shoe Museum. She created these ‘found poems’ from wording and phrases from the curatorial statements, explanatory panels and labels, which she will read at her talk feminist research and pedagogy at the University of Huddersfield:

 

Ode to the Couturier

The bible has not taught us so much

As this master of shape

This great conductor of form

Who astonished the public

By orchestrating away wartime masculine style

To make women feel like women again

Clothed in the armour

Of a revival of 19th century corsetry

That obscured the natural to accentuate the waist

And enshrine femininity

As the ‘new look’ of peace

 

Ode to the victims

Their worries proved to be well-founded

In the decades long reign

Of notorious female fashion dictates

Cloth dipped in toxic pigments

Testing positive for arsenic

And when brushed against a flame

Set instantly alight the women

Imprisoned in the steel corseted cage

Crafted to make a criminally small waist

And mocked mercilessly by caricaturists

For their female excess and frivolity

 

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