Dressing Up: Photographs of Style and Fashion

Mastsy Wynn Richards, Untitled (Woman in Hat with Net)
Mastsy Wynn Richards, Untitled
(Woman in Hat with Net)

1935, vintage gelatin silver print,
Worcester Art Museum, Eliza S. Paine Fund, 1991.56

November 10, 2001 - January 20, 2002

From a debutante portrait of Jacqueline Bouvier (Kennedy Onassis) to the outrageous styling of fashion designer Rudi Gernreich's Calfskin Surgeon's Suit, this exhibition surveys fashion photography of the 20th century. A compilation of about 50 photographs provides an engaging record of the changing customs, modes and cultural goals of the era.

Since its inception, photography has been a medium for portraiture, and photographs have served as records of style of dress and deportment of the day. In the 20th century, as stylish apparel became widely available, photography assumed a new role as magazines combined clothing advertisements and society journalism. Some of the finest photographers were drawn to fashion work, which synthesized form, aesthetic, and psychology. Indeed, photographers helped to set the style, and their photographs stand as enduring works of art.

From the Museum's permanent collection and the archives of Condé Nast, publisher of fashion magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair, come high-profile portraits of Fred Astaire, Billie Burke, Truman Capote and the Duchess of Windsor flanked with advertisements of supermodels dolled in high fashion. The exhibition features photographers Sir Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon, Frank Horvat, Irving Penn and many others.

This exhibition is sponsored by Flagship Bank and Trust Company. The media sponsor is the Telegram & Gazette.