LACMA expands its costume and textile holdings


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At last, the L.A. County Museum of Art is significantly ramping up its costume and textiles holdings to make them competitive with -- dare we say it? -- the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. LACMA announced Monday that it has purchased 250 pieces of European fashion for men, women and children, dating from 1700 to 1915. Among the highlights: an array of women’s dresses that demonstrate changes in silhouette over the 200-year period, a 1790s knitted men’s waistcoat in motifs expressing sympathy for the French Revolution, and a women’s silk robe (circa 1745 to 1760) from the Netherlands in a chinoiserie pattern illustrating the influence of Orientalism on European dress.

LACMA’s Senior Curator and Department Head of Costume and Textiles Sharon S. Takeda proposed the collection, which was put together by London collector Martin Kamer and Galerie Ruf in Switzerland. Costume Council member Ellen Michelson made the trip to Europe to see it and made a significant gift to help with the purchase. But it was L.A.-based couture collector Susan Saperstein who sealed the deal, paying more than half of the purchase price.


LACMA will present an inaugural exhibition of the collection in 2010 titled “Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 to 1915.”

Now all we need is a star-studded museum gala to open it. Take that, Anna Wintour.

-- Booth Moore

Photo: French gown circa 1790. Credit: LACMA