Philadelphia is having a fashion moment.
A collection of clothing and accessories created, worn and sold in Philadelphia from 1896 to 1994 will be shown from March 13 through June 26 as part of “Philadelphia in Style: A Century of Fashion from the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection, Drexel University” at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa.
Dresses, wedding gowns, shoes, hats and other items will be culled from Drexel’s Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, which will loan the items from its holdings of more than 14,000 garments, accessories and textiles from the last three centuries.
Although Philadelphia has frequently been overshadowed by New York, the City of Brotherly Love is believed to have played a significant role in American fashion. The exhibit traces the shift in the history of fashion, from the practice of using dressmakers and tailors — with whom many women developed strong personal relationships — to the rise of ready-to-wear clothing from local department stores and other fashion retailers.
Clare Sauro, curator of the Fox Historic Costume Collection, will cocurate the exhibition with Kirsten M. Jensen, Ph.D., the Michener Art Museum’s Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest chief curator, and Louise Feder, assistant curator of the Michener Art Museum.
“For centuries, fashion been a leading cultural force around the globe, but every city as its own story,” Jensen said. “We wanted to tell the Philadelphia story by resurrecting in our galleries the particular glamour, elegance and shopping customs of Philadelphia ladies through the past century.”