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Past Exhibitions

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

Co-curated by Kirsten M. Jensen, Ph.D., Gerry & Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator, Louise Feder, Assistant Curator, and Clare Sauro, Curator of Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection, Drexel University

March 13 – June 26, 2016
Paton | Smith | Della Penna-Fernberger Galleries

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.

Philadelphia in Style: A Century of Fashion is generously supported by Visit Bucks County and Gregory and Maureen Church.

Additional support is provided by the members of the Designers Circle: Victoria McNeil Le Vine, Bonnie J. O'Boyle, Barbara Donnelly Bentivoglio and Dr. Lamberto Bentivoglio, Bruce Norman Long Interior Design, Intrigue Fine Apparel, Jane M. Yeuroukis, Inc., Jane and Mal Jozoff; and Virginia W. Sigety, Independent cabi Stylist.

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Image: Richard Tam (American, 1941-1990), Dress (detail), ca. 1968, Silk. Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection, Drexel University, Gift of Mrs. Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Purchased at Nan Duskin. Photo by Michael J. Shepherd

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