Charles James, "Four-Leaf Clover" dress, 1953. Duchesse satin, lace, and silk shantung. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, 2009; Gift of Josephine Abercrombie,1953, 2009.300.784. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection

March 14, 2015July 19, 2015
Rosekrans Gallery, Special Exhibition Galleries 20B-F

Explore the glamour and sophistication of one of the world’s preeminent costume collections, whose fashions worn by American women reflect the nation’s tastes and transformations over the course of the 20th century. High Style, presented exclusively on the West Coast at the Legion of Honor, provides a rare opportunity to view the evolution of fashion from 1910 to 1980 through more than 60 stunning costumes, 30 costume accessories, and an array of related fashion sketches from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.

Curated by Jan Glier Reeder, consulting curator for the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and organized by the Met, High Style captures the key points of 20th-century fashion design with rare pieces from French couture houses, including pieces by Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, and Hubert de Givenchy. In addition, the presentation features pioneering American designers of the 1930s and 1940s such as Charles James, Elizabeth Hawes, Sally Victor, and Gilbert Adrian, among others. The selection of haute couture and ready-to-wear garments showcases the stunning craftsmanship and flamboyance of fashion in this era.

Highlights include Schiaperelli’s iconic surrealist necklace of brightly colored tin insects from 1938, six masterfully engineered James ball gowns from the 1950s, and Adrian’s striking tiger-striped silk ball gown from 1949.

Exhibition Preview

Stacked pump
pink ball gown with large skirt
long green dress with long sleeves
pointed embroidered shoe
necklace with bee decals
drawing of dress
Mannequin with checked cape
long black skirt with pink blouse
Charles James ball gown with dramatic skirt with black design on tan bodice
Black dress
gold pants and blouse with large bow
gold dress and pants
pink evening gown
tiger dress with full gown
Black dress with red detail

This exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

President's Circle

The Estate of Merrill and Hedy Thruston

Conservator's Circle

The Diana Dollar Knowles Fund

Benefactor's Circle

The Estate of Harriet E. Lang

Patron's Circle

Mr. and Mrs. William Hamilton
Jim and Arlene Sullivan

Lead Event Sponsor

Media Sponsor

Additional support provided through proceeds from The Art of Fashion: Runway Show and Luncheon.