Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum

Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum Our purpose is to support the Chicago History Museum as a leader in the documentation and interpretation of the history and the art of costume.
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Founded by Mrs. Phillip K. Wrigley in April 1974, the purpose of the Costume Council is to support the Chicago History Museum as a leader in the documentation and interpretation of the history and the art of costume. Through the Costume Council’s efforts, the Museum has been able to maintain and grow a thriving collection. The support they provide helps the Museum’s Conservation Lab ensure that the beauty and historical integrity of each piece will be protected and preserved. The Costume Council is proud to present what has grown to be one of the world’s premier collections, with pieces dating from the 1720s to today.

Founded by Mrs. Phillip K. Wrigley in April 1974, the purpose of the Costume Council is to support the Chicago History Museum as a leader in the documentation and interpretation of the history and the art of costume. Through the Costume Council’s efforts, the Museum has been able to maintain and grow a thriving collection. The support they provide helps the Museum’s Conservation Lab ensure that the beauty and historical integrity of each piece will be protected and preserved. The Costume Council is proud to present what has grown to be one of the world’s premier collections, with pieces dating from the 1720s to today.

The best kind of spring flowers 🌸🌺🌻Trifari (American)Gift of Mrs. Charles ChaplinThis costume jewelry demi-parure dates ...
04/07/2021

The best kind of spring flowers 🌸🌺🌻

Trifari (American)
Gift of Mrs. Charles Chaplin

This costume jewelry demi-parure dates from c.1960 and consists of a silver-colored metal necklace with small rhinestones; yellow and blue glass beads formed into a chain of flowers; and matching clip-on earrings. The set was designed by Trifari, which was founded in the 1910s by Gustavo Trifari, the Italian-immigrant son of a Napoli goldsmith. This set belonged to Mrs. Charles F. Chaplin, née Genevieve Clabaugh, who donated over 170 gowns, garments, and accessories to the costume collection in 1976.

Like many designers, Trifari began working with Broadway and Hollywood producers in the 1930s as a clever method of showcasing and promoting his line. However, the underlying reason for the company’s enormous success is better credited to the talents of Alfred Phillippe, Trifari’s chief designer from 1930 to 1968. His use of invisible settings for stones, which he originally developed for Van Cleef & Arpels, brought an elevated level of craftsmanship that had not been previously applied to costume jewelry.

One particularly prominent Trifari client, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, commissioned a costume jewelry parure to complement her Nettie Rosenstein-designed pink inaugural ball gown in 1953. Alfred Phillippe designed a pearl choker with a matching three-stranded bracelet and earrings to complete the First Lady’s look. Two additional sets were made, one for the Smithsonian and the other for the Trifari archives. Mrs. Eisenhower was evidently pleased by his designs, as she commissioned a new parure for her husband’s second inauguration in 1957 #trifari #costumejewelry #vintagejewelry #chm #chicagocostumecouncil #chicagohistory

Christian Lacroix (French, b.1951)Gift of Christian LacroixThis stunning, multi-piece evening ensemble is from Christian...
04/01/2021

Christian Lacroix (French, b.1951)
Gift of Christian Lacroix

This stunning, multi-piece evening ensemble is from Christian Lacroix’s 1993-94 fall/winter haute couture collection. It includes a jumpsuit of black lace edged with iridescent and copper colored trim; an attached, floor-length, pareo-style skirt of ombre silk chiffon; and a separate bustier of patchwork chenille covered with floral embroidery and trimmed with red and green ruched ribbons. Accessories include a rigid metal necklace adorned with gold coils, square-set red glass, and topped with multi-colored flowers created from goose feathers; and a wide bracelet of amber-colored resin with gold flakes. Not pictured are a pair of matching gold, faux pearl and red glass clip-on earrings, a wide gold metal cuff bracelet, and a pair of matching silk and lace sling-back heels.

Christian Lacroix was born in Arles, France, and studied art history at the Sorbonne and the Ecole du Louvre. He began his career in fashion design when he joined Hermes in 1978, where he gained technical experience. Following in the footsteps of Marc Bohan, Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Paul Gaultier, his first major role was as chief designer for the House of Patou. Although the ready-to-wear market of the 1970s and 1980s had had a detrimental impact on the tradition of haute couture, the worldwide admiration for Lacroix’s ornate, eighteenth century-inspired clothing gave it new life. In 1987, after five years of designing for Patou, he opened his own atelier in Paris.

In 1988, Lacroix made one of his first visits to the United States at the invitation of Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago, which was one of three Saks stores to launch his pret-a-porter collection stateside. Saks underwrote a sold-out, black-tie dinner presentation to benefit the Costume Council. Nena Ivon, past president of the Costume Council, produced the event, where she had the opportunity to work closely with Mr. Lacroix to best convey his imaginative vision. In 1993, Lacroix returned to Chicago to present his collection on the plaza of the Chicago History Museum. Hosted by Marshall Field & Company, the presentation was a reprisal of his fashion show in Paris one month earlier. At the conclusion, Lacroix donated this dress and another haute couture ensemble to the museum.

Where are our fashionable Chicago men 👋🏼 today’s Costume Collection Spotlight is for you!Hart, Schaffner & Marx (America...
03/25/2021

Where are our fashionable Chicago men 👋🏼 today’s Costume Collection Spotlight is for you!

Hart, Schaffner & Marx (American)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. L. W. Alberts

This men’s suit was worn by Mr. Earle Bloodgood Fowler at his wedding on August 5, 1922. Made of off-white wool cashmere, it features a double-breasted jacket, mother-of-pearl buttons, flap front pockets, and matching trousers. It was also featured in the Chicago History Museum exhibition I Do! Chicago Ties The Knot, 2010-2011. The suit was manufactured by Hart, Schaffner & Marx, a Chicago company dating back to 1872, when two brothers, Harry and Max Hart, opened a small men’s clothing store on State Street called Harry Hart and Brother. Subsequent partners included two brothers-in-law (Abt and Marx) and a cousin (Schaffner), eventually leading to the company’s long-held name.

Just prior to the turn of the century, Hart, Schaffner & Marx’s retail business was replaced by wholesale production, a lucrative move which enabled the sale of off-the-rack suits through a variety of distributors. Its entry into ready-to-wear was bolstered by a national marketing campaign which commissioned well-known illustrators to create posters and look-books featuring successful-looking men, soon establishing Hart, Schaffner & Marx as a premium brand.

In the mid-1920s, the company began a period of growth and acquisitions that lasted for decades. By the late-1960s, Hart, Schaffner & Marx had acquired so many retail and manufacturing operations, including Chicago retailer Baskin, that it was faced with an antitrust lawsuit. Meanwhile, the company pivoted into manufacturing men’s apparel which was licensed by famous personalities, including Johnny Carson, Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus. The company then began producing lines for well-known designer labels, including Christian Dior and Pierre Cardin in the 1970s, and Perry Ellis and Tommy Hilfiger in the 1990s.

Today, Hart, Schaffner & Marx, which still has a manufacturing plant in Des Plaines, Illinois, is likely best known for making the suit worn by future president, Barack Obama, when he became the Democratic Party presidential nominee in 2008.

Your dose of weekly Chicago history is here!Cape (Mandel Brothers, American)Gift of the Art Institute of ChicagoThis man...
03/17/2021

Your dose of weekly Chicago history is here!

Cape (Mandel Brothers, American)
Gift of the Art Institute of Chicago

This mantelet is a short, ornately trimmed cape, popular with fashionable women in the late Victorian era. The shorter length of this cape allowed for the larger bustles and elaborately designed skirts of the time. This circa 1890 mantelet was purchased at the Mandel Brothers department store in Chicago. It is created from light purple-gray wool adorned with appliquéd ribbons and couched black and white silk cord. It is trimmed with a narrow double ruffle of white, satin-edged chiffon and a wide ruffle of black lace over white taffeta. The entire piece is lined in white taffeta and decorated with steel cut buckles at the back of the neck. It was most recently featured in the museum’s Shalom Chicago exhibition in 2012.

The garment was worn and owned by Babette Frank Mandel (1848-1945), wife of Emanuel Mandel (1844-1908), co-founder of the Mandel Brothers department store. She and her husband both emigrated from Bavaria as young children and grew up in Chicago. They were married in 1871. After being destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire, the department store was re-established on the South Side, and moved again in 1875 to the Colonnade Building on State Street. The Mandel brothers were given a favorable, long-term lease by the building’s owner, Marshall Field, who was intent on building up the area.

Mrs. Mandel was an active philanthropist, dedicating herself to many important causes. She served as a director, and then president, of the Jewish Training School, which was established to teach immigrants manual skills and support them in the process becoming American citizens. She also co-founded the Maxwell Street Settlement and underwrote the establishment of the West Side Dispensary, which was later incorporated into Michael Reese Hospital as the Emanuel and Babette Mandel Clinic.

#ChicagoHistory #chicagocostumecouncil #CHM

You never know what you’ll find in hidden away in the collection. Read more for this weeks Costume Collection Spotlight:...
03/11/2021

You never know what you’ll find in hidden away in the collection. Read more for this weeks Costume Collection Spotlight:
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Alderman’s Presentation Badge
Gift of Ruth McCormick Tankersley
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This 14K yellow gold star-shaped badge was presented to Alderman Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna by his constituents in 1897, after winning the race for alderman of the First Ward on Chicago’s south side.
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The handmade badge has a black, enameled circle, which has been hand engraved, and surrounds one old European-cut diamond weighing just over 4 carats. The five points of the star each contain a similarly cut diamond, weighing just under 4 carats total. The back is engraved “PRESENTED TO Michael Kenna BY HIS FRIENDS AND ADMIRERS OF THE FIRST WARD, APRIL 22ND, 1897, CHICAGO, ILL.”
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Alderman Kenna, nicknamed “Hinky Dink” because of his diminutive height, had a strong political following, particularly among the proprietors of saloons, brothels, dancehalls, and nightclubs in Chicago’s Levee District. To run this part of town, Hinky Dink cultivated mutually-beneficial relationships with the neighborhood business owners, who reciprocated by keeping him in office. Hinky Dink amassed a huge wealth of money and luxuries throughout his life in politics, and upon his death in 1946, left a large estate to his relatives. The gold star was among several items which were sold at auction.
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Ruth Tankersley, a native Chicagoan, was living in Peru, Illinois when the owner of a small-town antiques shop showed her the badge. He wouldn’t sell it to her, as he had hopes of exhibiting it in a museum he had yet to establish. Years later, upon hearing that the shop owner had been murdered, Mrs. Tankersley contacted his widow, who informed her that the badge had been bequeathed to her. She donated it to the Chicago History Museum in 2012.
#chicagohistory #chicagohistorymuseum #chm #chicagocostume

LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER for the Bes-Ben: Chicago's Mad Hatter presentation with author Elizabeth Jachimowicz, former Cos...
03/10/2021

LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER for the Bes-Ben: Chicago's Mad Hatter presentation with author Elizabeth Jachimowicz,
former Costume Curator of the Chicago History Museum (1974-1989) In Conversation with Nena Ivon of nenasnotes.

Join us on zoom Tuesday, March 23, 2021 5:30-7:00PM CST.

Click this link for more information and to purchase you tickets today! https://bit.ly/3cpjg5s

03/04/2021
Dressed: The History of Fashion | iHeartRadio

Our wonderful costume collections manager, Jessica Pushor, has been featured on "Dressed: The History of Fashion" podcast where she talks about all the treasures and surprises that can be found in the Chicago History Museum collection.

Click the link below to listen to the full interview.

With over 7 billion people in the world, we all have one thing in common. Every day we all get dressed. Join Dressed as we explore the social and cultural histories behind the who, what, when of why we wear.

We're serving up sorbet but not the kind you would expect for our Collection Spotlight today...Paul Poiret (French, 1879...
03/03/2021

We're serving up sorbet but not the kind you would expect for our Collection Spotlight today...

Paul Poiret (French, 1879-1944)
Gift of Miss Anita Carolyn Blair

This striking evening dress, called “Sorbet,” is comprised of black and ivory silk satin and pink chiffon. Green, purple, and pink glass beads form rose motifs which have been applied to the tunic as silk-backed appliques. The bodice features kimono design influences with its wide, rectangular sleeves and overlapping front sections held in place with a fringed, obi-style sash. The ivory satin “lampshade” overskirt is shaped by a wire hoop; underneath is an ankle-length, split petal skirt, which allowed for more movement than Poiret’s favored hobble skirt. Worn by Anita Carolyn Blair, granddaughter of the founder of Merchants National Bank, to the 1913 debut of Gladys High in Chicago, the dress was a bold choice that may have upstaged the young woman hosting the party.

Paul Poiret, hailed as “The King of Fashion,” is best known for breaking with established conventions of dressmaking, liberating women first from the petticoat in 1903 and then from the corset in 1906. He began his career in the late 1800s, working for various couturiers, including the House of Worth. In 1903 he opened his own atelier, and within a decade, he had established a perfume line as well as a decorative arts company. Poiret projected an air of authenticity and originality in the face of mass production, which sustained his prominence among the elite class until the outbreak of World War I.

This dress from the museum’s collection is one of only three examples that still exist, the other two held in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Museum at FIT in New York. The museum’s version is the only one that follows the original sketch featured in the 1913 Gazette du Bon Ton.

We bring you this weeks Costume Council Spotlight in honor of our upcoming zoom lecture with legendary fashion designer,...
02/25/2021

We bring you this weeks Costume Council Spotlight in honor of our upcoming zoom lecture with legendary fashion designer, Norma Kamali:

Norma Kamali (American, 1945-)

Gift of Mrs. Ralph J. Mills, Jr.

In 1978, Norma Kamali opened her OMO (On My Own) Norma Kamali boutique in New York City. She gained recognition quickly by creating 1940s-inspired evening ensembles from comfortable fabrics. This gray evening dress is made of rayon matte jersey and has long, dolman sleeves, large shoulder pads, a cinched waist, and a purple waist sash. The purple shoulder drape, shown worn diagonally, is a versatile accessory which could also be worn as a shawl. This dress was purchased in 1983 by Helen Harvey Mills, a Chicago-based visual artist, and a life member of the Costume Council. Her work has been collected by several prestigious galleries and museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago.

Norma Kamali was born in New York City on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology, she began her career working as a freelance fashion illustrator as well as for an airline, which enabled her to travel abroad. In 1969, Kamali and her former husband opened a boutique, selling the latest styles from London, and eventually, her own original designs. She became known for her line of clothing made of real silk parachute material, which could be adjusted in both fit and length with the use of draw strings. She also created lines of versatile jersey dresses, swimwear, and a “sweats” collection that was a precursor to today’s athleisure trend. She is perhaps best known for the Sleeping Bag coat, which she designed on a camping trip in the 1970s, and the red one-piece bathing suit worn by Farrah Fawcett in the iconic 1976 poster.

Considered ahead of her time, Ms. Kamali was the first designer to create on online store on Ebay and ultimately transformed her company to operate exclusively on an e-commerce platform. She has continued to design and innovate while expanding into other areas of interest, including wellness, skincare, fitness, and diet.

The day we all look forward to, Wednesday’s Costume Collection Spotlight!Jean Dessès (Greece, 1904-1970)Gift of Mrs. Wil...
02/17/2021

The day we all look forward to, Wednesday’s Costume Collection Spotlight!

Jean Dessès (Greece, 1904-1970)
Gift of Mrs. William O. Hunt

This dark blue day dress is made of ribbed silk taffeta and features a wide boat neckline, a fitted waist, and a row of six buttons to which fasten a detachable stole.

Created by Paris-based designer Jean Dessès, this ensemble showcases an expertise in both fit and cut. The entire front of the dress is made from one piece of fabric that has been manipulated with tucks and darts. The seam at the end of the stole aligns with the hem of the dress, and an extra panel of fabric stitched to the stole is cut on a different grain, allowing it to catch the light.

Jean Dessès was a leading fashion house in Paris from the late 1930s to the 1960s. Born in Egypt to Greek parents, Dessès originally set out to study law, but changed course in 1925 when he began working for Maison Jane in Paris. In 1937 he opened his own salon, where he created couture pieces inspired by his world travels. Valentino worked with Dessès for several years in the 1950s, as did Guy Laroche. His famous clientele included the Queen of Greece, the Duchess of Windsor, and the first Mrs. Aristotle Onassis.

Mrs. William Hunt, née Jeanette Peterkin, whose husband was one of the early traders in the Chicago Board of Trade’s soybean pit, purchased this dress in 1951.

Hot off the press! A look into the Costume Council archives! Our exclusive Costume Council stationery features historica...
02/11/2021

Hot off the press! A look into the Costume Council archives! Our exclusive Costume Council stationery features historical garments from the Chicago History Museum archives designed by Norma Kamali. This 8-pc., boxed notecard set highlights these exceptional designs and is available if you purchase a $200 Costume Council box. Join us for this exciting Zoom as we learn more about Norma Kamali's fashion career and her inspiration and tips for a healthy lifestyle.

Click to purchase now https://www.chicagohistory.org/event/normakamali/

#stationery #archives #costumecouncilofchm #costumecouncil #design #normakamali #chicagohistorymuseum #selfcare #zoomlecture #wellness #journey #fashion #iaminvincible #agewithpower #mantra

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1601 N Clark St
Chicago, IL
60614

General information

The costume holdings, which includes articles of dress connected to Chicagoans (including items made by Chicago's dressmakers, milliners, and manufacturers) as well as examples of early American attire, is comprised of well over 50,000 objects, including men's, women's, and children's clothing, and accessories. The earliest costume pieces, dating from the 18th century, include suits worn by George Washington (1793) and John Adams (c. 1780). The collection also has a number of items that belonged to Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, as well as clothing worn by prominent Chicagoans, including items such as former Mayor Jane Byrne's inaugural suit (1979), Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls uniform (1989), and gospel singer Mahalia Jackson's choir robe (1959). In addition, the Museum has an extensive designer collection ranging from rare examples of Paul Poiret creations to the innovative designs of Yohji Yamamoto.

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