Experience fashion, culture and history as the College of Human Ecology’s Cornell Costume & Textile Collection hosts a “fashion for a cause” runway show and silent auction Thursday, Sept. 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the Prince George Ballroom in New York City. Attendees will have the opportunity to bid on rare and unique historic garments while enjoying the festivities.
Featuring original pieces by current Cornell fashion design students and historical garments recently deaccessioned from the collection, the show highlights the past and future of fashion. Students, staff and Cornell alumnae will model the garments for auction, while Denise Green, assistant professor of fiber science and apparel design, and director of the collection, contextualizes the pieces and designers amid a fashion history timeline.
“The auction will include 30 women’s ensembles from the 20th century, including designers like Oleg Cassini, Diane Von Furstenberg, Romeo Gigli, Yves St. Laurent, Geoffrey Beene, Donna Karan and Arnold Scaasi,” said Green. “One of the most exciting historical pieces is a World War II WAVES or Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service uniform, which was a division of the U.S. Navy. The uniform was designed by American fashion label Mainbocher.”
The collection, founded just over 100 years ago, advances knowledge of the social, cultural, historical, economic, scientific, technological and aesthetic aspects of fashion, textiles and apparel design through exhibition, preservation, research and teaching.
The collection includes more than 10,000 items of apparel, accessories and flat textiles dating from the 18th century to present, including designer and couture garments, functional clothing and technical textiles, and a substantial collection of ethnographic costumes. Since its founding in 1916 by Beulah Blackmore, the first Cornell professor to teach in the area of clothing and textiles, the collection’s expansion has outgrown the collection storage space.
“Over the past year, we have started an inventory of the collection in order to make recommendations for deaccession to create space for future donations and to be better stewards of the items we have,” Green said. “Funds raised from the auction will support the redesign of the CCTC storage facility, improve climate control conditions, and support the ongoing work of students, faculty and researchers who use the collection.”
More information about the runway show and some of the garments featured in the auction’s collection portfolio is available online. The event is made possible by sponsors Kirna Zabête, The Laundress, Célange, Cornell Alumni Affairs and Development, and the College of Human Ecology.