Explore the contemporary world of millinery and fashion design through an innovative, imaginative installation by Charleston artist Leigh Magar. Magar transforms the gallery into a workshop and showroom environment that for six weeks takes us through her highly individual creative process, played out in real time and culminating in a fully realized Mill Collection of work garments. The collection will include frocks, aprons, hats and accessories inspired by Lewis W. Hine’s historic, early 20th-century photographs of children textile mill workers.
Magar, who studied millinery at the Fashion Institute in New York City, opened Magar Hatworks in Charleston in 1996. Her stylish hats, ranging from fedoras to elaborate cocktail wear, have been sold by high-end stores such as Barney’s in New York City and Isetan in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. Her celebrity clients include Elvis Costello, Eartha Kitt, Gregory Hines and Christina Aguilera. In 2010, she established Madame Magar, bringing her interest in fashion design full circle with a dress and accessories line.
The fashion house of Magar Hatworks and Madame Magar come together as a workshop installation inside the gallery at 701 Center for Contemporary Art with tools of the trade that include sewing machines, patterns, cutting table, dress forms, mannequins, a showroom and a runway. Central to the installation is the opportunity to witness the creative process as Magar moves from concept to paper pattern to finished wearables and three-dimensional objects. A collection of more than 400 museum quality antique and vintage hat forms will be featured prominently in the installation.
A fashion house rooted in history and the homespun as well as the growing trend for locally made wearable art, Magar celebrates her love for art and fashion during her residency by creating a handmade collection with one-of-a-kind pieces. Madame Magar will present her Mill Collection in a fashion show at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in late April.