This collection takes a look at my own familial ties to the Bode Wagon Company, a wagon building workshop based in Cincinnati, Ohio from 1824 to 1940. The narrative speaks to a specific time in history- that of their renowned commission far the Barnum and Bailey and Ringling Brothers Circus far ornate and elaborate show wagons. The painted and engraved tableaus of animals, far-away lands, and dreamscapes carried the circus as they traveled through the expansive and everchanging American scenery.
For Bode SS20, I envision how my family and their wagon fabrication studios were colorfully transfarmed by the great American circus. This collection is comprised ofhued crochets and novelty knits, rich earthy striped workwear, hand painted silk shirts and canvas jackets, nylons and linens with familial imagery, suede welding jackets, and signature Bode patchwork. The collection seamlessly moves between workwear silhouettes and the essence ofbig top performance culture.
The show presents models donned in ballet flats juxtaposed with looks such as early twentieth century-inspired coveralls and quintessential American domestic craft techniques. The research and development of the Spring collection was done by the Bode studio on location in Sarasota, FL at the Ringling Museum. This idyllic location was formerly known as the Winter Quarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus.
We would like to extend a special thank you to head archivist and museum curator, Jennifer Lemmer Posey and to historian and author Jan Matthews for the introduction and hospitality. Additionally, thank you to John Ringling and his family for preserving these histories and allowing the circus to have been a magnificent part of my own childhood in Atlanta, GA.