When hearing the name Leonardo DaVinci, several words come to mind: artist, Renaissance, the Mona Lisa and maybe even The DaVinci Code. But fashion? That seems far fetched. But the two prove to go hand-in-hand. This summer, 303 Magazine is presenting a DFW fashion show that combines the best local fashion with DaVinci’s world renowned art.
From April through September, Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum (WOTR) is playing host to the DaVinci Machine’s Exhibition — an exhibit that contains over 65 hand-crafted inventions built from Leonardo’s 500-year-old designs. This summer’s DFW fashion show — which includes a kids fashion show— will be at WOTR where you will be able to see all these pieces up close and personal.
To best explain the exhibit and what to expect, 303 talked to the director of the DaVinci Machines Exhibition for North America, Mark Rodgers. Rodgers manages, promotes, moves and displays the DaVinci Machines Exhibition as it travels across the United States to various museums and venues.
With over 60 exhibits on display — many of which are interactive — the collection features replicas of the major and most striking inventions of the original “Renaissance Man.” Deciding where to display the art and which pieces to use wasn’t as simple as just choosing a museum on the map. “The most important steps involved in bringing the DaVinci pieces is making sure the exhibition is a good fit for the museum,” said Rodgers. “And the museum has the ability and the desire to display the models and artwork in a setting that benefits both the museum and the presentation.”
This led them to Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. “The Wings Over the Rockies museum is probably the best set up we have had in the five years of touring the exhibition here in the US. At WOTR, visitors can see DaVinci’s inventions and the direct modern day application right next to his design.”
Bringing the pieces to the actual museum was almost a monumental effort in itself. “Basically, the models come in on a tractor trailer,” said Rodgers. “Each piece is hand wrapped and a lot of care is taken into simply moving the exhibits a few feet — nevertheless across the country.” The pieces include the Bicycle, Spring Powered Car, Hang Glider, the Air Screw and for the first time ever, the secrets behind Leonardo’s legendary Robotic Lion. This exhibition also presents models grouped in themes: war machines, flying machines, nautical & hydraulic machines, as well as devices illustrating the Principles of Mechanics.
An interesting fact that Rodgers pointed out is that DaVinci is credited with over 44,000 drawings of which only 14,000 survived. Being one of the greatest painters in the history of the world, there are only 13 finished works we are able to attribute to him.
The exhibit also offers licensed digital images of DaVinci’s actual artwork. “The licensed paintings have been digitally printed on canvas and stretched and framed to the exact size of his original artwork,” explained Rodgers. “In most cases, these artworks looks better than the original.” Because DaVinci’s masterpieces are scattered around the world, having all these pieces in one place is something unique and rather incredible.
The most interesting part of the partnership between the exhibit and DFW is in fact, the fashion. Rodgers explained that DaVinci was an apprentice and they had to be proficient in many areas of the arts: music, painting, sculpting, architecture, invention and even designing. “DaVinci excelled in most every area that he undertook,” noted Rodgers. “DaVinci not only designed inventions and military machines but he also designed clothing. They even found a design of a DaVinci handbag.”
DaVinci actually loved clothing and according to Rodgers, his favorite colors were purple and pink. “He loved his clothing so much that he actually named and numbered his clothing. In his codices he would write little vignettes about what each piece of special clothing meant to him.”
Like many designers with their clothing, you can look and touch. The exhibit is structured to be a hands-on experience where visitors can come and explore and learn about the art. “In most museums and exhibitions, you are not allowed to touch. In our exhibition we encourage the visitor to interact with many of the models and see DaVinci’s dream come alive right before their eyes,” said Rodgers. “The whole theme of our exhibition is to ‘Discover the DaVinci in You.’ Imagine if each and every one of us could come up with just one idea similar to what Leonardo DaVinci created can you imagine how incredible our world would be today.”
The exhibit is open daily and in addition to exploring the life-size and interactive models, there is a 45-minute movie that plays at various times throughout the exhibition in the museum. Called The DaVinci Genius, the movie that was made especially for the DaVinci Machine’s Exhibit and is not to be missed. The key thing to remember for both the fashion show and DaVinci exhibit is that you don’t have to be a fashion enthusiast and art buff to enjoy and understand the event.
“DaVinci has an outreach that everyone can relate to,” said Rodgers. “The real purpose of our exhibition is for the visitor to come in and see what this one man did in his life and apply what he did to their own lives. We hope the exhibit ignites and creates that spark of creativity to bring his or her life to the next level.”
Before the fashion part of the night, guests will get to explore the exhibit and interact with the art pieces on display. Admission to the exhibit comes with the DFW tickets.
The exhibition is open every day from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday’s at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver Colorado through September.