By  on June 15, 2006

NEW YORK — Fashion is the focus of a new exhibition at the Nassau County Art Museum.

Ensembles designed by Christian Dior, the House of Worth, Chanel and others are on display in "Art and Fashion: From Marie Antoinette to Jacqueline Kennedy" through Aug. 13 at the Roslyn Harbor, N.Y., site. There's even Andy Warhol's Campbell soup dress from 1966.

Like the fashions that decorate its exhibition rooms, the museum has its own storied past. In 1919, Henry Clay Frick, the co-founder of U.S. Steel Corp., bought the Georgian mansion that now houses the museum as a wedding present for his son, Childs. The museum also exhibits works by Pierre Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Cézanne, Mary Cassatt, Pablo Picasso, Richard Avedon and Horst P. Horst, all of whom were influenced by the fashions of their times.

A significant amount of the exhibition is devoted to Kennedy's reign as first lady. There are oversize photographs of her wearing Oleg Cassini's designs and mimeographed copies of her personal letters to the late designer. Unable to borrow any of Kennedy's dresses from her White House years from the Smithsonian Institution, the NCMA turned to local students to re-create her signature look, said director Constance Schwartz. Fashion students at Nassau Community College designed the dresses for the exhibition. The museum also honored Cassini posthumously with a lifetime achievement award at its annual ball Saturday.

Schwartz credited longtime Seventh Avenue executive Arthur Levine as "the motivating factor" for "Art and Fashion." An avid art collector, he is also the museum's vice president and chairman of its exhibition and acquisitions committee.

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