Fashion touches every aspect of life and is intrinsically linked to society. Turn-of-the-century fashion is on view this spring at the Rosson House Museum with Dressing Downtown, an exhibition featuring clothing dating from the late 1890s through the 1920s. The Rosson House, a fully restored 1895 Queen Anne Victorian house, is a natural host for this exhibition highlighting such a big turn in the history of fashion.
Dressing Downtown references a key moment in Arizona’s history, a time when the region was growing rapidly and positioning itself for statehood. The stiff and overstuffed Victorian age was coming to an end, and with it, out went the fussy crinolines, exaggerated bustles and abundant frills that had defined fashion for decades. Fashion in the new century bowed to more simplicity, and though details were still elaborate, excessive trimmings and unnatural lines were gradually abandoned. The dynamic period costumes on display illustrate the Victorian sensibilities of high morals, cultured manners and excess, as well as the new attitudes manifested in the freedom and convenience of Edwardian style.
Among many other pieces, the show features a specimen on loan from the collection of Black Cat Vintage. The gown, made of silk jacquard, duchess, taffeta and chiffon, was created for Ednah Hayes, who wore it at the 1909 inauguration of President Taft in Washington, D.C. (photo at top)
Visitors will find the accessories and accouterments that defined turn-of-the-century style featured in an accompanying exhibit Details, which will open on March 22 in the Stevens-Haustgen Bungalow.
Heritage Square has partnered with several individuals and organizations to put these exhibitions together, including Sherri Starkey, guest textile curator; Dennita Sewell, Phoenix Art Museum’s Jacquie Dorrance Curator of Fashion Design; Claudine Villardito, owner of Black Cat Vintage; Arizona Historical Society in Tucson, Ariz.; Tempe History Museum; and Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, Ariz.
Feb.15 – Oct. 29
Rosson House Museum at Heritage Square, 113 N. Sixth St., Phoenix
March 22, 2017 – May 27, 2018
Stevens-Haustgen Bungalow at Heritage Square, 113 N. Sixth St., Phoenix
For more information/tickets, visit heritagesquarephx.org.