1920s Fashion Roars in Exhibition of Drexel’s New Fox Historical Costume Collection | Now



A stunning collection of 1920s women’s clothing will be on display from Friday November 5 to Friday April 8, as part of Venus & Diana: Shaping the Jazz Age, presented by Drexel University
Robert and Penny Fox Historical Costume Collection
(FHCC) of the
Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design

During this fascinating decade, designers, retailers and manufacturers have offered a wide assortment of clothing reflecting the fast pace and changing demands of modern life. The special exhibition will present around 40 pieces of clothing from influential designers such as Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet, Paul Poiret, Jean Patou, and for true connoisseurs, Callot Soeurs. These garments will be accompanied by a selection of accessories, illustrations and related photographs.

“In 1924, Jean Patou launched a campaign to hire four American models for his Parisian fashion house, and although he was careful to emphasize” the exquisite desirability of both the French round Venus and the slender American Diana, “her research reflected a growing tension. Between adhering to the couture tradition and adopting styles based on active sportswear,” said Claire Sauro, director of the Fox Historic Costume Collection and assistant professor at Westphal College. “Patou recognized that youth were the driving force behind fashion trends and skillfully capitalized on this market. “


Evening dress in teal blue and green silk satin with polychrome embroidery. Callot SÅ“urs, France, around 1924; gift of Alexander J. Cassatt

The detached enthusiasm of the younger generation for all things modern was a collective manifestation of grief after World War I (1914-1918) and the influenza pandemic of 1918 (1918-1920). Determined to “burn the candle at both ends”, the young people began to dance, smoke, drink, play and play sports, in a wave of exuberance dubbed “the age of jazz”. This period saw the emergence of the flappers, a group of young women determined to live their lives as freely as their male counterparts. Although flappers were controversial at the time, they remain a powerful image of feminine beauty and freedom that resonates to this day.

Venus and Diana: Shaping the Jazz Age, will go beyond the flapper to present an in-depth view of women’s fashion during this revolutionary decade, ”said Sauro.


Edouard Molyneux Cloche. France / USA, circa 1928; CCSF

CHF Canada, touted as a “world-class fashion and textile collection” by The The Wall Street Journal, has grown exponentially over the past decade. Drexel founder and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel believed the study of art and design was essential to a full education and specifically set aside significant funds for the purchase of art and artifacts. .

CHF Canada features a 1,100 square foot bespoke gallery, designed by Atkin Olshin Schade, which hosts two historic clothing exhibitions each year. CHF Canada is also home to the James G. Galanos Archives of Drexel and the James G. Galanos Study Hall, which accommodates students and researchers. The collection contains works by many of the most famous designers of the past, such as Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Christian Dior, Charles James and Elsa Schiaparelli.

The FHCC gallery is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the URBN Center (3501 Market Street) while Drexel remains open. On Thursday, November 4, more information about the exhibition will be available at www.venanddiana.com.


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