Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Exploring My Mother’s Clothes by Jeannette Montgomery Barron

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 7:58 PM

click to enlarge My Mother's Clothes makes fashion and family connect.
  • My Mother's Clothes makes fashion and family connect.

Photographer and author Jeannette Montgomery Barron celebrates her late mother, Eleanor Morgan Montgomery Atuk, in the new book My Mother's Clothes. This book acts as a tribute, collage and love letter. Ten years before Eleanor passed, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. To jumpstart her fading memory, Barron began photographing her mother's clothes with the hope that Elanor's love for fashion would fortify her memories. What began as an experiment developed into a way to help her mother, as well as a way to help herself cope with the loss brought on by her mother’s disease and death.

Barron made her mark back in the 80s by photographing the New York art world, and her work is featured in many collections the world over. Today, she has homes in Rome and Connecticut. Before launching her career, she was just another southern girl—or something like that. Barron’s family is as Atlanta as Coca-Cola itself—literally. Her father’s family ran a Coca-Cola bottling business, and her great-grandfather was the man who bought the formula for Coke from Dr. Pimberton and then sold it.

The book includes these tidbits as well as a preface written by husband James D. Barron and an introduction by former British Vogue Arts Editor, Patrick Kinmonth. What follows is thoughtful album meant to breathe life back into her mother's memory. Along with each pictured designer piece is a message, or a memory about her late mother. Some are pieces of advice:

Mama always told me, “Take some ‘mad money’ with you on a date. If you get mad, you can just leave.”

Others are memories since her passing:

In the years since she’s been gone, I’ve taken to curling up beneath my mother’s fur coat; it comforts me.

Barron's collection exudes sincerity. Like many mother-daughter relationships, there's a sense of strain, sadness, and remorse. Barron makes no pretenses of a perfect life, but gives the straight facts, some amusing and others sad, and all highly relatable.

While the vintage style and classic designer names call to any fashion lover, Barron manages to do something that few can: she puts an emotional face on fashion. Her book proves that fashion can become a part of the fabric of life. Whether you’re a mother, a daughter, a fashion/art enthusiast, or even a history lover, Barron stumbles onto something we can all appreciate—love.

Barron finished up a three day stop in Atlanta tonight. Yesterday, Barron participated in two benefit fashion shows for the Georgia Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association at Phipps Plaza. Her final appearance is today, April 28, including a book signing and reading at Barnes & Noble in Buckhead  (2900 Peachtree Rd.) at 7 p.m.

My Mother’s Clothes By Jeannette Montgomery Barron. Welcome Books. $24.95; 112 pp.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Latest in Fresh Loaf

More by Salina Cranor

The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown
The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown

Search Events

Search Fresh Loaf

Recent Comments

© 2016 Creative Loafing Atlanta
Powered by Foundation