Babes and Bathers: History of the Swimsuit

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Time to hit the beach!

Bikinis, swim trunks and speedos are a common sight along Okanagan Lake in the summertime. People strut their stuff in swimwear of all different colours, shapes and sizes.

Before swimsuits were invented, men typically swam naked and women wore voluminous, light weight dresses. All that changed in the mid-1800s. The first swimsuits covered the body from neck to ankles. Modesty was de rigueur! As the decades passed, new materials were created and swimsuits became more revealing.

Babes and Bathers explores a century of trends in swimwear. Guest curator, Ivan Sayers, brings an extensive collection of men’s and women’s suits from the late 1800s to the 1980s to the Okanagan Heritage Museum. Ivan is a collector and curator of historical fashion. He grew up in Summerland and has been collecting fashion pieces since age 14.

The exhibition also features a selection of historical beach scenes from around Kelowna. Photographs from the Kelowna Public Archives that spotlight babes and bathers from the 1910s and beyond provide local context for the swimsuits on display.

The exhibition runs from June 8, 2018 to Sept 3, 2018 at the Okanagan Heritage Museum, 470 Queensway Ave, Kelowna, BC.

Please join us for the Opening Celebration
Date: Thursday, June 7, 2018.
Time: 7pm to 8:30pm (Remarks at 7:15pm)
Location: Okanagan Heritage Museum (470 Queensway Ave, Kelowna BC)

For more information contact [email protected]

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ABOUT IVAN SAYERS

Ivan Sayers is a fashion historian who specializes in the study of women’s, men’s and children’s fashions from 1700 to the present. He has collected period costumes for over 50 years, and now has one of the largest and most comprehensive private collections of historical clothing in Canada. He produces historical fashion shows and museum exhibitions across western and central North America, and lectures at several local universities and colleges. He is currently the Honorary Curator of the Society for the Museum of Original Costume, whose mandate it is to establish a museum of clothing and textiles in the lower mainland.

Based on an exhibition from the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Special thanks to The View Winery for their support!

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