By: Carolyn Brucken, Chief Curator, and Libby Short, Autry Member
When the Dress Codes teams issued a call for aloha shirts for the exhibition, we found a goldmine in the shirts collected over the years by Libby Short and Michael Friedman, longtime supporters and friends of the Autry Museum. In sitting down with Libby, I learned how aloha shirts are simultaneously loved as works of textile art and an expression of love over time. For this Aloha Friday blog, I invited Libby to share the story behind what has become one of my favorite shirts in the show.
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This Hawaiian Aloha shirt was purchased in the mid-90s in Hawai’i. It is made of silk and is part of a line of Avanti designed, vintage patterned shirts we have collected for my husband over the years. When we found a long, flowing overdress in the reverse pattern (black ground with orange koi) by Avanti, we began wearing them together every December 21 for our wedding anniversary dinner on Kauai. This pattern is also symbolic for us because we appreciate the Japanese cultural influences in Hawai’i and have visited Japan many times.––Libby Short