[Background] Hello all! My name is Issa Mello and this spring I've been selected as the University's Lila Bath Intern. This means I get to spend a week in San Antonio, Texas at the University of the Incarnate Word studying and analyzing all of the culture, dress, and the extensive Lila Bath costume collection. Throughout my trip I'll be posting a couple blogs and plenty of pictures to share my experience with you! To read her previous blogs click, BlogPost1 or BlogPost2
Wrapping up the last two days of an incredible journey in San Antonio! Thursday we visited a specialty shop for quinceanera dresses, such as the one pictured below. This establishment had two floors. The first level was for wedding, prom, bridesmaid, and honorary court dresses, and the second level was dedicated to quinceanera dresses and men's tuxedos. The space allotted for quinceaneras was easily the largest, which says a lot about how big these celebrations have become! The dresses definitely showed some distinct personality, and there were a lot of fun design details and construction techniques to observe.
After lunch on Thursday I had a chance to meet with Ms. Alexander, a faculty member at Incarnate Word. She showed me some of her and her sister's embroidery, beadwork, and fabric manipulation techniques that they had learned from classes, studying abroad, or techniques they picked up from various surface design books. The patience and expertise that the Alexander sisters show in their work is unbelievable. Watch out for when the Alexanders graduate; they plan to open a school to share their wealth of knowledge of beading, embroidery, and surface treatments.
My final day in San Antonio was spent getting to know the town and seeing some of the main attractions. The day started off at the Museo Alameda and its exhibition, "Revolution and Renaissance". Although the museum did not allow any photography, there was a gallery of gorgeous watercolors by Ruben Resendiz, and some cool historic pieces of costume and interior design dating from the 1910s to present day. After a stroll through an outdoor tourist marketplace, we stopped for lunch at a popular Tex Mex restaurant. Walking off lunch wasn't that difficult with walking around downtown San Antonio to see the Alamo and the river walk. I learned a lot about the Alamo and Texas history that I never knew!
The river walk was beautiful, even if about a tenth the width of the Mississippi River that I'm used to. The landscape architecture, fountains, and surrounding buildings made for a great landscape.
We made some other stops at some tourist markets, including a local wine tasting, and before I knew it, the week was up and I was headed back to the airport. I wasn't leaving empty handed, though. I have a lot of inspiration and ideas for the final capstone garments! My final blog will show you some of the ideas, sketches, drapes, and possibly test garments that will evolve into my final garments. Thanks for sharing this journey with me!
top left: One of the elaborate and decorated dresses for a quinceanera celebration. The skirt features layers of tulle, as well as a collapsible hoop skirt and a layer of petticoats.
top right: One of the garments from the Alexander sisters. In this garment many different beading and embroidery techniques were used, including classic Japanese surface detailing, French and American techniques, plus vintage beads and embellishments.
bottom: Remember the Alamo! The front of the most famous building in San Antonio.