100 shades of white. A colour in fashion
Anything but monotonous! In fashion, white is given a special role to play, which the exhibition ‘100 Shades of White’ highlights in its many facets. The show can be seen from March 3 up to and including September 10, 2023 in the Textilmuseum St. Gallen. The colour of light, the clouds, snow: white symbolises joy, purity, innocence, a new beginning, peace, silence, emptiness – and death. Hardly any other colour is assigned such symbolic content, something that is reflected in our dress habits, too. White is worn at such religious ceremonies as a baptism, communion or wedding, yet is also employed on social occasions, for sport or as working apparel, too. The choice of a colour is not always on account of its meaning. White fabrics possess extraordinary aesthetic qualities. The appeal that lies in the reduction of colour; the play with the most subtle shadings and nuances, with transparency and texture, have always held a fascination for fashion and textile designers. Moreover, white underwear is closely connected with the history of hygiene, playing a role in fashion as underclothing that cannot be underestimated. Based on more than one hundred objects – costumes, accessories and other textiles, photographs and advertising – the exhibition titled ‘100 Shades of White’ offers insight into the fashion and cultural history of a luminous colour that sometimes throws up black shadows. The special significance of white textiles for Eastern Switzerland is not to remain in the dark: here we throw light on the white embroidery, artistically handcrafted, that represented an important source of income in Appenzell-Innerrhoden up to the 20th century. And we make a foray through the ‘white city’ of St. Gallen, whose rise to become an important textile location was bound up with the fashion colour from the beginning.