New York Fashion, Costumes, and Textiles

Feather fan, 1890s Gift of the Estate of Agnes Miles Carpenter, 58.241.1

New York Fashion, Costumes, and Textiles Collection

Unparalleled for their splendor, documentation, and extraordinary level of preservation, the 27,000 objects of the Costume Collection not only chronicle the stylistic evolution of our nation’s fashion capital, but proffer an intimate insight into the social history of its populace. Its holdings betray the aspirational nature of fashion, as evidenced by the city’s upwardly-striving multitudes as well as its leisured gentility. A formidable repository, comprising the works of pre-eminent Parisian couturiers as well as those of the anonymous designers who spawned New York’s garment industry, the Costume Collection additionally serves as a living archive of contemporary New York City trend-driven attire.

Holdings include:

* A legendary collection of clothing worn by fashionable New York women bearing the label of Parisian couturier Charles Frederick Worth.
* Significant holdings of 20th-century designs by New York designers, including Claire McCardell, Mainbocher, Vera Maxwell, Norman Norell, and Valentina.
* Items identified with city personalities, including John Jay’s velvet frockcoat, Al Smith’s trademark derby, and a military uniform issued to a New York City National Guard Member who served in Operation Desert Storm.
* Fashion accessories including gloves, fans, stockings, shoes and boots, parasols, collars, ties, hats and headresses, and purses as well as costume jewelry.
* A chronological reference archive of primary source materials directly related to the history of fashion trends and the fashion industry in New York City. Included are photographs, clippings from periodicals, vintage store catalogues and bound fashion publications.



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