Fashionable Life: Midnight at the Oasis

by Editorial

The Textile Museum is hosting an after-hours retreat, Midnight at the Oasis to close out the exclusive ikat exhibit.
By Sheila Mulhern

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats on display through March 13th. Image by Kevin Allen.

Originating in the Central Asian, Silk Road areas of Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva and the Fergana Valley, a revival of ikat textiles has grown in the native regions as well as among contemporary designers.  The Textile Museum has a featured exhibit Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats that includes a selection of the19th Century robes, wall hangings, furnishings and textiles entrusted to the museum by collector Murad Megalli, which runs through March 13th.

Curator Sumru Belger Krody staged T-form displays to underscore the luxe fabrics conjointly with mannequins to portray a more social aspect amid vivid, deep blue walls.  She shared that it can take approximately 2 months to complete one robe with a complex process involving hot dyes, loom weaving, interior lining and tailored quilting finishes.  The silk robes were bound with an embroidered trim and hosted vibrant, jewel-tone colors in abstract motifs of boteh (paisley), palmettes, split leaves, florals and vines.  Even ornamentation of jewelry such as lines of dangling earrings were depicted.  An overall impact superseded any individual delineation.

The light textiles were structural and functional as bags and transportable clothing for nomadic groups, with Silk Road trade routes bringing it to wealthier populations.  Since ikats were worn by all levels of class, status was distinguished by the number of layered garments or the appearance of complex designs.  The textiles were collectively revered as precious, respected items and served as political gifts or signifiers for special occasions.

Many of the designs can be found today in fashion and home décor. From mass market stores to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week runways, the bold colors and abstract motifs are surging in popularity for designers alike.  Ikat inspiration is used in many of the upcoming spring and summer collections including Anthropologie, Shoshanna, L.A.M.B., Target and Ann Taylor.

There is still time to view this unique collection and The Textile Museum will hold an after-hours event Friday, March 11th where guests can escape the cold weather for a Midnight at the Oasis with regional hors d’oeuvres, gallery tours, a scavenger hunt and music by DJ Jahsonicand.  Tickets are available online.

Guest view Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats at The Textile Museum through March 13, 2011. Image by Kevin Allen.

Ikat Zebra Scarf from upcoming Ann Taylor summer collection, available in May 2011. Image by Ann Taylor.

Shoshanna Bali Ikat Printed Maxi Dress available at Bloomingdales. Image by Shoshanna.

Ikat dress from L.A.M.B. Spring 2011. Image by L.A.M.B.

Anthropologie Dynamic Ikat Bedding. Image by Anthropologie.

Ikat plate from Target. Image by Target.

Ikat bowl from Target. Image by Target.

Related Articles