- Designed by Christian Dior. Woman's Dress: Bodice and Skirt, Spring 1948. Silk satin and embroidery. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Dora Donner Ide in memory of John Jay Ide, 1967.Important: By downloading this image, you are agreeing to the following permissions: Images are provided exclusively to the press, and only for purposes of publicity for the duration of an exhibition at the PMA. The Museum grants permission to use images only to the extent of its ownership rights relating to those images--the responsibility for any additional permissions remains solely with the party reproducing the images. In addition, the images must be accompanied by the credit line and any copyright information as it appears above, and the party reproducing the images must not distort or mutilate the images.
- Christian Dior. Woman's Suit: Jacket, Skirt, Belt, and Camisole, Fall/Winter 1998. Designed by John Galliano for Christian Dior. Pink wool twill, pink fur, brown leather, metal, faux pearls. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Martin Field, 2014.Important: By downloading this image, you are agreeing to the following permissions: Images are provided exclusively to the press, and only for purposes of publicity for the duration of an exhibition at the PMA. The Museum grants permission to use images only to the extent of its ownership rights relating to those images--the responsibility for any additional permissions remains solely with the party reproducing the images. In addition, the images must be accompanied by the credit line and any copyright information as it appears above, and the party reproducing the images must not distort or mutilate the images.
- Designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga. Woman's Evening Ensemble: Dress, Overdress, Bustle, and Petticoat, Spring 1951. Waist: 24 inches. Black silk organza, white cotton piqué, black silk. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of John Wanamaker, 1951.Important: By downloading this image, you are agreeing to the following permissions: Images are provided exclusively to the press, and only for purposes of publicity for the duration of an exhibition at the PMA. The Museum grants permission to use images only to the extent of its ownership rights relating to those images--the responsibility for any additional permissions remains solely with the party reproducing the images. In addition, the images must be accompanied by the credit line and any copyright information as it appears above, and the party reproducing the images must not distort or mutilate the images.
- Designed by Patrick Kelly. Woman's Evening Dress and Two Pairs of Gloves, Fall/Winter 1988. Dress: Black nylon plain weave, machine embroidery over multicolored acetate plain weave ribbons, black triacetate taffeta and polyester net. Gloves: Black nylon plain weave, machine embroidery over multicolored acetate plain weave ribbons, black synthetic knit. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Bjorn Guil Amelan and Bill T. Jones in honor of Monica Brown, 2014.
- Designed by Pierre Cardin. Woman's Evening Dress and Flowers, c. 1994. Dress: Silk/rayon velvet; silk basket weave, silk/polyester satin, cotton cord. Flower: Silk plain weave, polyester chiffon. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Jack M. Friedland (Annette Y. Friedland), 2009.
- "Dress," 1994, Designed by Pierre Cardin. Copyright Archives Pierre Cardin.
- Designed by Roberto Capucci. Woman's Fumo (Smoke) Evening Dress, 1985. Black, grey, and off-white raw silk plain weave. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the Costume and Textiles Revolving Fund, 2011.
- Designed by Adrian. Woman's Evening Dress, 1947. Silk velvet. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Walter H. Mock, Jr., 1961.
- Designed by Marc Bohan. Woman's Evening Dress and Cape, Summer 1983. Silk gazar. Philadelphia Museum of Art: 125th Anniversary Acquisition. Gift of Kathleen P. Field, 2014.
- Designed by Jacqueline de Ribes. Woman's Evening Dress, c. 1990. Red silk satin. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Martin Field, 2014.
- Designed by Pierre Cardin. Woman's Evening Ensemble: Top and Skirt, 1989. Top: Silk faille, rayon stretch net lace, rhinestones. Skirt: Cellulose acetate velvet. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Mrs. Jack M. Friedland (Annette Y. Friedland), 2009.
- Designed by Christian Lacroix. Woman's Two-Piece Dress: Top and Skirt, Spring/Summer 1988. Printed cotton brocade, cotton and acrylic ribbon, and synthetic plain weave. 125th Anniversary Acquisition. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Kathleen P. Field, 2014.
- Designed by Susan Bennis/Warren Edwards. Woman's Shoes, 1988. Silk plain weave, silk/synthetic organza, patent leather. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Martin Field, 2014.
- Designed by Hubert de Givenchy. Woman's Hat, 1988. Silk satin, acetate velvet. Purchased with funds contributed by an anonymous donor, 1993.
- Ellsworth Kelly, Reinterpretation of a Woman's Dress, designed in 1952; 2013. Cotton, nylon, and spandex blend double weave. Size: 4. Gift of the artist, 2015. Object Rights Type: Licensed with Restrictions. Copyright: © Ellsworth Kelly, courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.
- Designed by Christian Lacroix. Woman's Catsuit, Fall/Winter 1990. Multicolored printed synthetic knit. Gift of Martin Field, 2014.
- Designed by Issey Miyake. Woman's "Flying Saucer" Dress, Spring/Summer 1994. Heat-set polyester plain weave. Gift of Issey Miyake, 1997.
- Designed by Paco Rabanne. Woman's Dress, 1966. Rhodoid plastic and metal. Gift of Rubye Graham, 1969.
- Designed by Geoffrey Beene Woman's "Mercury" Evening Dress Fall/Winter 1994-1995 Lamé velvet of metallic pile and acrylic twill ground. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Geoffrey Beene, 1997.
- Designed by Vicky Tiel. Woman's Dress, 1989. Synthetic lamé. Worn by Mrs. Martin Field, 1989. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Martin Field, 2014.
- Label Chanel, Paris. Woman's Suit: Jacket, Skirt, and Kerchief , Fall/Winter 1972-1973. Ivory and black wool; navy blue silk. Gift of Mrs. Stuart A. Prosser, 1979.
- Designed by Bernhard Willhelm. Woman's Ensemble: Dress, Spring/Summer 2011. Tie-dyed cotton plain weave. Woman's Ensemble: Shoes, Fall/Winter 2011-2012. Leather, plastic. Gift of Bernhard Willhelm, 2013.
- Designed by Pierre Balmain. Woman's Wedding Dress, c. 1959. Silk and metallic damask complex weave, silk chiffon. Worn by Mrs. Douglas J. Cooper (Diene Pitcairn) c. 1959. Gift of Mrs. Douglas Cooper, 1974.
- Designed by Carolina Herrera. Woman's Wedding Dress, Spring 2012. Striped silk satin. Gift of Rachel Frishberg Press, 2013.
- Designed by Gustave Tassell. Wedding Dress and Hood, 1968. Silk and wool moiré, ostrich feathers. Gift of the designer, 1972.
Fabulous Fashion: From Dior's New Look to Now
October 16, 2018 - March 3, 2019
Over seven decades of style will be displayed in Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now, a major exhibition highlighting creativity and glamour. The haute couture and ready-to-wear garments and accessories on view range in date from 1947 – the year of the introduction of Christian Dior’s revolutionary “New Look” – to recent ensembles by audacious designer Bernhard Willhelm. Featuring some of the most significant and visually compelling works from the Museum’s renowned collection of costumes and textiles, Fabulous Fashion presents many new acquisitions and other outstanding works, exhibited rarely if ever before.
Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Few museums have such extraordinary range and depth in their collection of costumes and textiles as the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As we continue to work on our Facilities Master Plan, which will result in much more gallery space to display the richness of our holdings in this field, Fabulous Fashion will serve as a reminder of the strength of our collection and all that we have to offer to those who value the extraordinary history of costumes and textiles as much as we do.”
Fabulous Fashion includes such iconic works as Adrian’s 1947 velvet “winged victory” gown, an understated black and white 1972 Chanel suit, and Geoffrey Beene’s 1994 silver lamé “Mercury” dress. Radical design is exemplified by Paco Rabanne’s dress made of plastic discs linked by metal rings (from his 1966 collection entitled “Twelve Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials”) and a punk-inspired ensemble by Zandra Rhodes from her 1977-78 “Conceptual Chic” collection.
Focusing on fashion as an art form, the exhibition is arranged thematically to explore designers’ creative use of color and pattern, shape and volume, draping, metallics, bridal traditions and innovations, and exquisite embellishments. Works will be grouped together to offer striking visual comparisons and demonstrate the relentlessly creative spirit of fashion.
A pair of ensembles from fifty years apart opens the exhibition, each embodying fashion-forward dressing for its time. Dior’s two-piece pale pink satin day dress from 1948, with a nipped-in waist and full skirt that epitomizes the ultra-feminine “New Look,” contrasts with a flirtatious hot pink fur-collared wool suit designed in 1998 by John Galliano for the house of Dior.
A dramatic section of the exhibition features magnificent ballgowns and other evening wear to illustrate the inspired use of shape and volume. This features masterworks by Pierre Cardin, whose extraordinary sculptural designs from the 1980s and early 1990s reflect his background in architecture, as well as dresses with voluminously ruffled skirts by Jean Dessès (1957), Roberto Capucci (1985), and Oscar de la Renta (2007). Two flamenco-inspired dresses – one designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga in 1951 and the other by Patrick Kelly in 1988 – reflect how each designer’s unique heritage informed the reinterpretation of a traditional form.
Stimulating juxtapositions are presented throughout the installation. Gold embroidered net, for example, is used by Anne Fogarty in a strapless evening dress – designed to flaunt an 18 ½ inch waist – that reflects the 1950s ideal of femininity (articulated in the designer’s 1959 book, Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife). In contrast, a gold lamé mini dress from the late 1980s by Vicky Tiel exudes glamour, sensuality, and strength.
Color is the focus of both Issey Miyake’s “Flying Saucer” dress of 1994 and a shift designed by artist Ellsworth Kelly in 1952 that was reinterpreted sixty years later by Francesco Costa of Calvin Klein, while the use of flamboyant prints can be seen in a dress and tights by Emilio Puccio (1965) and Christian Lacroix’s catsuit (1990), among others. Ingenious examples of drapery include a classic goddess gown by Madame Grès (1981) and a deconstructed dress designed a decade later by Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons. Inventive embellishments emphasize the skill and creativity involved in techniques such as beading, embroidery, and appliqué. Meticulous feather work, for example, adds not only brilliant color but also texture and movement to cocktail dresses by Nina Ricci (1968) and Peter Som for Bill Blass (2008).
A selection of bridal gowns that combine tradition and innovation includes Pierre Balmain’s luxurious 1959 creation of ivory chiffon with silk and silver damask, Vera Wang’s 1999 custom-made satin gown with an opulent embroidered bodice, and Carolina Herrera’s 2012 strapless design with a bustled back skirt unexpectedly striped in gold, silver, and grey. Grace Kelly’s wedding headpiece and shoes, as well as her bridal manual, all covered with lace and accented with seed pearls, are also featured in this section.
Kristina Haugland, the Le Vine Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles and Supervising Curator for the Study Room, who organized Fabulous Fashion, said: “With so many wonderful examples in the Museum’s collection, the works on view have been selected to complement one another and encourage visitors to make connections between different eras, approaches, and aesthetics.”
Kristina Haugland, The Le Vine Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles and Supervising Curator for the Study Room.
Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor
This exhibition has been made possible by The Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, The Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson, The Davenport Family Foundation, The Gloria and Jack Drosdick Fund for Special Exhibitions, Amy A. Fox and Daniel H. Wheeler, Augusta Y. Leininger, Lyn M. Ross, and an anonymous donor. Additional support was provided by Annette Y. Friedland.
About Costumes and Textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Since its founding, as a result of Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exhibition, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s costume and textile collection has become one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world. Numbering some 30,000 objects, the collection is remarkable in depth and breadth, encompassing art of great quality from diverse eras and around the globe. Textiles holdings range from Middle Eastern and Asian archeological examples to American quilts and samplers to fiber art, while the extensive collection of garments and accessories includes particular strengths in late-nineteenth century French couture and the iconic designs of famed twentieth-century designer Elsa Schiaparelli, as well as a growing collection of contemporary menswear. The 1956 wedding dress worn by Princess Grace of Monaco, the former Grace Kelly of Philadelphia, is another highlight (currently not on view). Since costume and textile objects can only be displayed for short periods of time due to light sensitivity and other conservation concerns, the Museum showcases diverse aspects of its encyclopedic collection through special exhibitions and rotating displays.
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