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Apr. 19, 2019 | Friday
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Niagara Historical Society is dressing up for the Arts and Fashion Lecture Series
Michele-Elise Burnett with Gary Parker (Supplied)

The Niagara Historical Society and Museum is dressing up for the return of its annual lectures – the Art and Fashion Lecture Series will be held on the third Thursday of each month, offering an expert point-of-view on fashion through history and culture.

The first lecture on March 21 at 7:30 p.m., Gary Parker, principle consultant for an Aboriginal-owned consulting company, will talk about Indigenous songs and dances, the evolution of colonization and the impact those changes had on Aboriginal’s technology and clothing.

Michele-Elise Burnett, a Metis Algonquin, president of Kakekalanicks Indigenous Consulting Company, said when she was asked to help put the talk together, the vision was about the importance of Indigenous dress.

“We would wear different regalia, or dresses, depending on what we were going to be doing. For Indigenous people, it wasn’t so much dressing for fashion to impress anybody, it was more for the conditions and circumstance. It’s more working with the natural world and what the environment has presented.”

She commented on how some Indigenous clothes have made their way into pop culture. Jimi Hendrix, half-Cherokee and half-African American, she said his clothes were representative of his heritage and culture, wearing a lot of feathers and fringes. Inspired by his grandmother, who was Cherokee, Burnett said Hendrix influenced the wearing of Indigenous style clothing in the 60s.

She said she didn’t know specifically what Parker would speak about for the lecture series, but that it would likely include the role Indigenous clothes have played over the years.

The series is sponsored by Geoffrey and Lorraine Joyner and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Bed and Breakfast Association.

Other talks include David Aurandt’s Back to the Future – the Museum and Deaccessioning on April 18, Rita Brown’s ‘Exposed’ – a Brief History of Underwear on May 16, and Norma Shepherd’s Canadian Crowns: An Exhibition of Vintage and Contemporary Millinery by Canadian Designers on June 20. Jonathan Walford will talk about collecting fashion on July 18 and on Sept. 19 Sonya de Lazzer will talk about the t-shirt’s role through history and tourism. August’s speaker is yet to be announced.

Admission for each night of the lecture series is $10, free for NHS members. As seating is limited, pre-registration is required.

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