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High Style: Betsy Bloomingdale and the Haute Couture

Start Date 21 October 2009
End Date 13 December 2009
Venue FIDM
Location Los Angeles, USA

High Style: Betsy Bloomingdale and the Haute Couture celebrates a group of over 100 haute couture garments donated to the FIDM Museum by International Best Dressed Hall of Fame icon Betsy Bloomingdale. A Los Angeles native, Mrs. Bloomingdale married Alfred P. Bloomingdale—an heir to Bloomingdale’s department stores and founder of Diners Club credit cards—in 1946. Ironically, it was her husband’s business that led Mrs. Bloomingdale into the world of French haute couture, which she purchased from 1961 to 1996.

Her wardrobe includes designs by Marc Bohan and Gianfranco Ferré for Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent, André Courrèges, James Galanos, Adolfo Sardia, Oscar de la Renta, and Valentino Garavani. This exhibition includes over 60 ensembles and describes the process of haute couture, showcases her favorite designers, and examines her personal style and lifestyle. Supplementary exhibition materials include hand drawn croquis (colored sketches with attached fabric swatches), contemporary photographs of Mrs. Bloomingdale at many international events (including the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana), as well as magazine layouts illustrating garments she ordered. Accompanying the exhibition is a catalog and video documentary which includes interviews with Mrs. Bloomingdale, Hubert de Givenchy, James Galanos, Oscar de la Renta, Adolfo Sardiña, and François Lesage, among others.