Arts Picks: Women's wear at Sun Yat Sen memorial hall, Rudolf Nureyev's costumes at Alliance Francaise

The 14 costumes on display at the Alliance Francaise are part of Charles Jude's private collection. PHOTO: AARON TEO ART PHOTOGRAPHY

Modern Women Of The Republic: Fashion And Change In China And Singapore

Women's fashion at the turn of the 20th century seems to be on trend for museums here. Hot on the heels of the Asian Civilisations Museum's (ACM) Fashion And Textiles gallery's show of Qing- and Republican-era clothes comes this small showcase focusing mostly on the same period.

This show, at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, has fewer exemplars of Manchu- and Qing-era clothing compared with the ACM one. But it makes up with some interesting archival photographs of Singapore women of the same period, showing how the Chinese diaspora here was influenced by fashion trends of both East and West.

There are also more outfits that showcase Singapore fashion - from a pink wedding outfit worn by Madam Tan Lay Choo, the sixth daughter of philanthropist Tan Kah Kee, to a still-stylish batik cheongsam with a matching bolero jacket donated by Madam Agnes Tan Kim Lwi that any fashionista would happily stride out in today.

Look out for a fascinating restored and colourised film reel from the Moving Image Research Collection, University of South Carolina Libraries, which features women parading in the latest outfits in 1929 Shanghai.

Qing- and Republican-era clothes are on display in this small showcase focusing mostly on the same period. ST PHOTOS: ONG SOR FERN

There is a nod to how the movie stars of the 1950s and 1960s were fashionable cover girls featured on magazines, calendars and advertisements.

One minor quibble is that the captions could be more detailed. A striking striped batik cheongsam once belonged to writer Han Suyin, but there is no mention of this tidbit.

And there are eight other outfits scattered throughout the second level of the museum among the permanent collections which the casual visitor might miss because there is no mention of these displays at the ground-level exhibit.

Where: Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, 2 Tai Gin Road MRT Toa Payoh

When: Till Dec 12, Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 5pm

Admission: Free for Singapore citizens and permanent residents

Info: Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall's website

Nureyev On Stage


Balletomanes will get a kick out of this small show at the Alliance Francaise, part of the Dance: A Tribute To Rudolf Nureyev programme, which includes film screenings and other events.

The late Russian dancer Nureyev changed the dance form for male dancers and became a global superstar in the process.

The 14 costumes on display here are part of Charles Jude's private collection. The French dancer was Nureyev's protege.

The outfits reflect Nureyev's holistic approach to the role of the danseur. He collaborated with designers to create costumes that afforded him greater ease of movement and showed off the line of his legs better.


The costumes for classic ballets such as Giselle and Paquita are nicely detailed with braids and buckles. Look out for the only pair of ballet slippers on show which remind me of classic Mary Janes shoes for women.

Also of note are 49 unpublished photographs. A wonderful trio for Petrouchka, performed with the Royal Ballet in 1963, showcases Nureyev's expressive eyes and face.

L'Après midi d'un faune costume. PHOTO: ARRON TEO ART PHOTOGRAPHY

And there is a Singapore connection too, on a wall which reproduces a Straits Times interview with the man himself when he came here in 1989 as part of a world tour.

Where: Alliance Francaise, 1 Sarkies Road MRT Newton

When: Till Sept 15; weekdays, 8.30am to 7.30pm; Saturdays, 8.30am to 5.30pm; closed on Sundays and public holidays

Admission: Free for the exhibition, some ticketed events for the festival

Info: Alliance Francaise's website

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.