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Philadelphia in Style: A Century of Fashion from the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection, Drexel University

Start Date 13 March 2016
End Date 26 July 2016
Venue Michener Art Museum
Location Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA
Curator Kirsten M. Jensen, Louise Feder and Clare Sauro
Exhibition with four mannequins displaying 20th century dress.
Exhibition with five mannequins displaying garments that span Garments that span 1945-55.
Exhibition with two mannequins displaying garments from 1985-95.

When it comes to fashion, New York usually gets all the attention. Philadelphia, however, has always been an important design center, an incubator for leading fashion design talent, and a home to stylish women. Many prominent Philadelphia women were named to best-dressed lists over the years, causing famed Philadelphia retailer Nan Duskin Lincoln to remark: “[T]here is indeed a Philadelphia Look, and it is one of consummate good taste, elegant and understated, the rare sort of elegance that is sensed immediately as well as seen.” She continued, “Philadelphians love new fashions, daring fashions. They not only accept change, they embrace it—but only if it is in good taste, and they make a fashion very individually their own just by the way they wear it.”

Philadelphia in Style celebrates this sartorial legacy with a stunning display of dresses, wedding gowns, shoes, hats and other items spanning a century of high fashion. The exhibition will highlight fashion designers and retailers that influenced fashion choices throughout and beyond the mid-Atlantic region, including designers Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Christian Dior, Callot Soeurs, Halston, and Elsa Schiaparelli, as well as retailers Nan Duskin, John Wanamaker’s, and Strawbridge & Clothier.

The exhibition is co-organized with the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection (FHCC) at Drexel University. Documenting over four centuries of costume history, the FHCC holds more than 14,000 fashionable garments, accessories and other related materials and is a vital part of the design curriculum at the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design.

Images courtesy of Thom Carroll of the Phillyvoice