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Celebrate the 1930s: Fashion, Dance and Music 

High Desert Museum brings vintage fashion to life

Staff of the High Desert Museum model vintage fashion as part of the "Celebrate the 1930s: Fashion, Dance and Music" show. Photos courtesy of the High Desert Museum.

Staff of the High Desert Museum model vintage fashion as part of the "Celebrate the 1930s: Fashion, Dance and Music" show. Photos courtesy of the High Desert Museum.

Step back in time to the 1930s, with a fashion show, music and dance, part of "Art for a Nation: Inspiration from the Great Depression," a special High Desert Museum collaboration. The fashion show, curated by Linda Evans, will take place at the Tower Theatre on Friday, May 13. This lively and entertaining event is meant to entice even the least bit interested person in becoming a seeker of more information.

Deschutes County celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016, and not only has Bend changed dramatically, so has the style of dress. "Nothing is more personal than clothes," says Evans, curator of living history for the museum. She brings the period pieces to life through the models presenting and donning the garments, which span the time period from the mid-1920s to the beginning of World War II.

"When you take vintage clothes off the hangers and place them on a body, the clothes reveal a very personal connection to the history of a time," she says. Evans is quite pleased to have such an array of outfits from which to choose. "These garments are from the Deschutes Historical Museum, Forest Service and Goodwill Industries, as well as a few pieces from private collections," she says.

She passionately discusses how society is shaped by human interaction, both social and political. For example, "Fashion changes dramatically when war enters the scene," says Evans. She talks about not just the restrictions on fabrics and materials, but also the restrictions of emotion about loss. "People want to start over. They want to put the war behind them. They want, and even need that change," she says, explaining that these changes were reflections of what people were experiencing at that time. "During the Great Depression, a dark time in history, people showed perseverance and determination to survive," she notes.

The 1930s fashion show is intended to educate, not through a standard history lesson, but as one that comes alive. "I want the people of Bend to come experience the sights and sounds of the era. These are the times that our parents and grandparents lived through. It is what has shaped us to be who we are today," she says.

Evans' inspiration found its genesis going through her mother and grandmother's clothing as a child, and in particular, an inheritance of 1880s attire that set her young mind spinning.

"It wasn't enough for me just to play dress-up. I needed to know more," she says. The hand-made garments belonging to her ancestors sparked questions. "Who was she? Why had this simple farmer's wife possessed such an elegant dress like this?" Evans asked. Her curiosity turned into a career as she began to research and realize that each garment, every stitch, and each piece of fabric has not only a purpose behind it, but a story to tell.

Celebrate the 1930s: Fashion, Dance and Music

Friday, May 13, 7 p.m.

Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St., Bend | $15

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