Tue April 16 - Sun August 11, 2024

Fashioning San Francisco: A Century of Style

From bohemian styles to elegant evening wear, fashion is a form of personal expression for San Franciscans, inspired by the city's location on the Pacific Rim and its inclusive mindset. Spanning a century of high fashion and haute couture worn by Bay Area women, the exhibition Fashioning San Francisco: A Century of Style at the de Young museum will examine the role of style as a marker of social identity. Drawn from the Fine Arts Museums' exceptional costume holdings, Fashioning San Francisco will present the work of more than 50 fashion designers, from Balmain to Miyake, Valentino to McQueen, with the majority of ensembles to be displayed for the very first time.

~~~~~~~~~
Read - Sister Dresses: Christian Dior's "Junon" and "Venus" - https://www.famsf.org/stories/sister-dresses-christian-diors-junon-and-venus
~~~~~~~~~

"The Fine Arts Museums' costume collection is one of the strongest in the country, advanced over decades by generous gifts from Bay Area residents. Likewise, the museum is renowned for its vibrant and wide-ranging fashion exhibitions. As the city's museum, we are now thrilled to present stunning selections from our costume collection in an exhibition that examines the city's evolving style ethos," states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "Fashioning San Francisco is a rich presentation that asserts the case that San Francisco does, and has always had, style."

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are home to one of the most significant collections of 20th- and 21st-century women's costume in the United States, including exemplary gifts of high fashion and haute couture from Bay Area women philanthropists. Fashioning San Francisco--the first exhibition to share a richness of works from the costume collection in more than 35 years--will explore how women's fashions have molded, and been molded by, the city of San Francisco.

"Fashioning San Francisco situates the Museums' remarkable high fashion and haute couture collections within the context of the city's development and the ascension of Bay Area women as civic, social, cultural, and sartorial leaders," states Laura L. Camerlengo, Curator in Charge of Costume and Textile Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "These individuals further contributed to the cultural fiber of their communities by donating their wardrobes to the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco for the preservation and the benefit of future generations. We are delighted to honor and elevate their legacies."

Fashioning San Francisco commences in the early 20th century, a time when San Francisco is regaining its position and redefining itself in the wake of the city's earthquake and fire in 1906. The city's desire to assert its international status in the wake of disaster manifests in the dress codes of its prominent women. Such manifestations include imported French fashions brought into the city through its port, as well as presentations of French couture gowns at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, French peoples formed one of the largest immigrant communities in San Francisco, and upon their arrival, they began importing French goods. The exhibition will feature a number of early French designs including rare Callot Soeurs and Lucile gowns, which attest to San Francisco's burgeoning affluence and cosmopolitanism.

From here the exhibition continues chronologically to explore how the city's geographic location further contributed to the blossoming of international trade in the city, including the rise of department stores as importers of European haute couture in the mid-20th century. San Francisco boasted a robust economy, fostering iconic department stores such as I. Magnin, City of Paris, The White House, and Lilli Ann. These and others played a critical role in the development of San Franciscan style.

Indeed, the allure of luxury runs deep in San Francisco's style ethos, aligned with the city's active social calendar, itself fueled by the city's vibrant cultural sector. With these events offering fashion and civic leaders opportunities to dress their best, Fashioning San Francisco will feature gowns, cocktail dresses, and evening attire by European couturiers such as Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior--many once retailed by the city's department stores and worn to major society events. The exhibition will also dedicate a section to the most indispensable piece in a wardrobe, "the little black dress," featuring spectacular black dresses from Christian Dior, Karl Lagerfield, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, and more.

San Franciscans have a long-standing history of being among the first to embrace the experimental in dress, both supporting and wearing designers with a knack for the radical. Japanese designers such as Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe, and Yohji Yamamoto will be featured in a section that explores the avant-garde creatives redefined conventional fashion in the 20th and 21st centuries. Fashioning San Francisco will also explore the work of Western designers who have been inspired by the aesthetics of Asian, African, and other international cultures to address cultural appropriation and its contemporary discourse.

Fashioning San Francisco will honor San Francisco Bay Area women civic leaders, business owners, and public influencers, through the "power suits" they wore as they helped shape and build the city. Indicative of San Francisco, these suits embody the city's specific climate, terrain, and varied aesthetics, presenting San Francisco as a working city for confident women.

The exhibition will conclude with a selection of shoes from the Museums' permanent collection, highlighting a mix of materials and styles that reflect the diverse roles and tastes of the San Franciscans who wore them. From fine leather craftsmanship to embellishments of bright colors and spangles, this section of the exhibition will assert that shoes are an important accessory in establishing their wearer's sense of self.

As traditional studies of fashion history have prioritized designers and narratives from the so-called "major" fashion cities of Paris, Milan, London, and New York, Fashioning San Francisco challenges the conventional notions of what makes a "fashion city."

Fashioning San Francisco is curated by Laura L. Camerlengo, Curator in Charge of Costume and Textile Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. It will be on view at the de Young museum January 20 through August 11, 2024.


Fashions on view by:

Pierre Balmain
Frederick Gibson Bayh
Geoffrey Beene
Blancquaert
Louise Boulanger
Bill Blass
Manolo Blahnik
Thea Cadabra-Rooke
Roberto Capucci
Gabrielle Chanel
Comme des Garçons
Jacques Costet
Oscar de la Renta
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
Herman Delman
Sarkis Der Balian
Marchesa Olga di Grésy
Christian Dior
Jacques Fath
Gianfranco Ferré
Mariano Fortuny
James Galanos
John Galliano
Jean Paul Gaultier
Peggy Hoyt
Charles Jourdan
Rei Kawakubo
Christian Lacroix
Karl Lagerfeld
Jeanne Lanvin
Beth Levine
Lucile
Madame Grès
Alexander McQueen
Issey Miyake
Kei Ninomiya
On Aura Tout Vu
Jean Patou
Callot Soeurs
Yves Saint Laurent
Valentino Garavani
Vivienne Westwood
Ralph Rucci
Julio Laffitte
Richard Tam
Sybil Connolly
Rodarte
Edwin Oudshoorn
Emanuel Ungaro
Christopher John Rogers
Kaisik Wong
Yohji Yamamoto
Vivienne Tam
Zhang Hongtu
Junya Watanabe
Pietro Yantorny
Roger Vivier
Prada


Image Credits:

Image 1: Christian Dior (French, 1905-1957) Evening dress "Junon," Fall/Winter 1949.; Gabrielle Chanel (French, 1883-1971); Yohji Yamamoto (Japanese, b. 1943). Photographs by Randy Dodson.

Image 2: Installation view of Fashioning San Francisco: A Century of Style, de Young, San Francisco, 2024, Photograph by Gary Sexton
From bohemian styles to elegant evening wear, fashion is a form of personal expression for San Franciscans, inspired by the city's location on the Pacific Rim and its inclusive mindset. Spanning a century of high fashion and haute couture worn by Bay Area women, the exhibition Fashioning San Francisco: A Century of Style at the de Young museum will examine the role of style as a marker of social identity. Drawn from the Fine Arts Museums' exceptional costume holdings, Fashioning San Francisco will present the work of more than 50 fashion designers, from Balmain to Miyake, Valentino to McQueen, with the majority of ensembles to be displayed for the very first time.

~~~~~~~~~
Read - Sister Dresses: Christian Dior's "Junon" and "Venus" - https://www.famsf.org/stories/sister-dresses-christian-diors-junon-and-venus
~~~~~~~~~

"The Fine Arts Museums' costume collection is one of the strongest in the country, advanced over decades by generous gifts from Bay Area residents. Likewise, the museum is renowned for its vibrant and wide-ranging fashion exhibitions. As the city's museum, we are now thrilled to present stunning selections from our costume collection in an exhibition that examines the city's evolving style ethos," states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "Fashioning San Francisco is a rich presentation that asserts the case that San Francisco does, and has always had, style."

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are home to one of the most significant collections of 20th- and 21st-century women's costume in the United States, including exemplary gifts of high fashion and haute couture from Bay Area women philanthropists. Fashioning San Francisco--the first exhibition to share a richness of works from the costume collection in more than 35 years--will explore how women's fashions have molded, and been molded by, the city of San Francisco.

"Fashioning San Francisco situates the Museums' remarkable high fashion and haute couture collections within the context of the city's development and the ascension of Bay Area women as civic, social, cultural, and sartorial leaders," states Laura L. Camerlengo, Curator in Charge of Costume and Textile Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "These individuals further contributed to the cultural fiber of their communities by donating their wardrobes to the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco for the preservation and the benefit of future generations. We are delighted to honor and elevate their legacies."

Fashioning San Francisco commences in the early 20th century, a time when San Francisco is regaining its position and redefining itself in the wake of the city's earthquake and fire in 1906. The city's desire to assert its international status in the wake of disaster manifests in the dress codes of its prominent women. Such manifestations include imported French fashions brought into the city through its port, as well as presentations of French couture gowns at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, French peoples formed one of the largest immigrant communities in San Francisco, and upon their arrival, they began importing French goods. The exhibition will feature a number of early French designs including rare Callot Soeurs and Lucile gowns, which attest to San Francisco's burgeoning affluence and cosmopolitanism.

From here the exhibition continues chronologically to explore how the city's geographic location further contributed to the blossoming of international trade in the city, including the rise of department stores as importers of European haute couture in the mid-20th century. San Francisco boasted a robust economy, fostering iconic department stores such as I. Magnin, City of Paris, The White House, and Lilli Ann. These and others played a critical role in the development of San Franciscan style.

Indeed, the allure of luxury runs deep in San Francisco's style ethos, aligned with the city's active social calendar, itself fueled by the city's vibrant cultural sector. With these events offering fashion and civic leaders opportunities to dress their best, Fashioning San Francisco will feature gowns, cocktail dresses, and evening attire by European couturiers such as Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior--many once retailed by the city's department stores and worn to major society events. The exhibition will also dedicate a section to the most indispensable piece in a wardrobe, "the little black dress," featuring spectacular black dresses from Christian Dior, Karl Lagerfield, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, and more.

San Franciscans have a long-standing history of being among the first to embrace the experimental in dress, both supporting and wearing designers with a knack for the radical. Japanese designers such as Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe, and Yohji Yamamoto will be featured in a section that explores the avant-garde creatives redefined conventional fashion in the 20th and 21st centuries. Fashioning San Francisco will also explore the work of Western designers who have been inspired by the aesthetics of Asian, African, and other international cultures to address cultural appropriation and its contemporary discourse.

Fashioning San Francisco will honor San Francisco Bay Area women civic leaders, business owners, and public influencers, through the "power suits" they wore as they helped shape and build the city. Indicative of San Francisco, these suits embody the city's specific climate, terrain, and varied aesthetics, presenting San Francisco as a working city for confident women.

The exhibition will conclude with a selection of shoes from the Museums' permanent collection, highlighting a mix of materials and styles that reflect the diverse roles and tastes of the San Franciscans who wore them. From fine leather craftsmanship to embellishments of bright colors and spangles, this section of the exhibition will assert that shoes are an important accessory in establishing their wearer's sense of self.

As traditional studies of fashion history have prioritized designers and narratives from the so-called "major" fashion cities of Paris, Milan, London, and New York, Fashioning San Francisco challenges the conventional notions of what makes a "fashion city."

Fashioning San Francisco is curated by Laura L. Camerlengo, Curator in Charge of Costume and Textile Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. It will be on view at the de Young museum January 20 through August 11, 2024.


Fashions on view by:

Pierre Balmain
Frederick Gibson Bayh
Geoffrey Beene
Blancquaert
Louise Boulanger
Bill Blass
Manolo Blahnik
Thea Cadabra-Rooke
Roberto Capucci
Gabrielle Chanel
Comme des Garçons
Jacques Costet
Oscar de la Renta
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
Herman Delman
Sarkis Der Balian
Marchesa Olga di Grésy
Christian Dior
Jacques Fath
Gianfranco Ferré
Mariano Fortuny
James Galanos
John Galliano
Jean Paul Gaultier
Peggy Hoyt
Charles Jourdan
Rei Kawakubo
Christian Lacroix
Karl Lagerfeld
Jeanne Lanvin
Beth Levine
Lucile
Madame Grès
Alexander McQueen
Issey Miyake
Kei Ninomiya
On Aura Tout Vu
Jean Patou
Callot Soeurs
Yves Saint Laurent
Valentino Garavani
Vivienne Westwood
Ralph Rucci
Julio Laffitte
Richard Tam
Sybil Connolly
Rodarte
Edwin Oudshoorn
Emanuel Ungaro
Christopher John Rogers
Kaisik Wong
Yohji Yamamoto
Vivienne Tam
Zhang Hongtu
Junya Watanabe
Pietro Yantorny
Roger Vivier
Prada


Image Credits:

Image 1: Christian Dior (French, 1905-1957) Evening dress "Junon," Fall/Winter 1949.; Gabrielle Chanel (French, 1883-1971); Yohji Yamamoto (Japanese, b. 1943). Photographs by Randy Dodson.

Image 2: Installation view of Fashioning San Francisco: A Century of Style, de Young, San Francisco, 2024, Photograph by Gary Sexton
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Museums, Fashion

Date/Times:
  • Tue Apr 16 (9:30am - 5:15pm)
  • Wed Apr 17 (9:30am - 5:15pm)
  • Thu Apr 18 (9:30am - 5:15pm)
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de Young Museum 284 Upcoming Events
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

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