Exhibit on Fashion and Language Offers ‘Playful Homage’ to Style Manual

The English language is rife with idioms that use clothing as metaphor: “If the shoe fits, wear it,” “speaking off the cuff” and “skirting the issue,” for example.

The relationship between words — especially literature — and the world of fashion is explored in an exhibit on view at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The exhibit’s title, “Elements of Style: Fashion and Form at the Beinecke,” pays a “playful homage” to Strunk and White’s now-classic grammar primer, “The Elements of Style,” note the show’s organizers.

Among the themes explored in the exhibition are the role of clothing and design in literature and everyday life; fashion’s dependence on the written language, the power of description; the relationship between text and texture, fabric and paper; and book artist’s fascination with sewing and the decorative arts.The items on view include writer Gertrude Stein’s embroidered waistcoats and arts aficionado Muriel Draper’s hats.


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Elements of Style

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Talk by ‘Elements of Style’ artist

In conjunction with the exhibit, there will be a talk titled “My Soul Finds Comfort in This False Hope” by illustrator, author and designer Maira Kalman on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 4 p.m. Kalman’s artwork is featured in a recent edition of Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style.” Her most recent blog for newyorktimes.com, “And the Pursuit of Happiness,” will be published in book form in October. She teaches a graduate seminar in design at the School of Visual Arts.

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, located at 121 Wall St., is open for exhibition viewing 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday; and noon-5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. The exhibition runs through March 27. For more information, call 203-432-2977 or visit www.library.yale.edu/beinecke.

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