Last month the FIDM Museum participated in the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising’s annual Debut fashion show—but calm your fears, there were no models sauntering down the runway in fragile historic clothes. High Style: Betsy Bloomingdale and the Haute Couture was the inspiration for an elegant display of FIDM Museum Study Collection garments donated by Mrs. Bloomingdale. This selection of colorful dresses included evening, cocktail, and day dresses worn by the style icon to notable events. Like most of her haute couture pieces donated to the FIDM Museum, many of the garments on display were designed by Marc Bohan for Christian Dior.
The Debut fashion show is an annual event during which third-year advanced study students at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising have the opportunity to present their work, be it interior design, fashion design, or costume design. Check out the FIDM website for images of this spectacular event.
The FIDM Museum staff installed the garments on custom-made “floating” dress forms, made by Study Collection Manager Carolyn Jamerson. The round platform was based on the "Designer" section of the High Style exhibition held last fall at the FIDM Museum & Galleries. This section of the exhibition focused on designers who worked closely with Betsy Bloomingdale, including James Galanos, Marc Bohan for Christian Dior and Hubert de Givenchy. Shaped like a gently sloping upward spiral, the platform and dresses gave the guests a striking first impression as they entered the venue. All eleven garments are housed in the Study Collection, which is a hands-on collection available to students, faculty, and researchers.FIDM Museum staff dress the floating forms.
Tools of the trade include archival boxes, floating forms with stands and a steamer.
As you can see, these dresses may not belong to the FIDM Museum Permanent Collection, but they are still exquisitely made and remain valuable sources of inspiration, from fabric and construction to silhouette and hand-detailing. This display gave students an opportunity to see the craftsmanship and beauty that they aspire to in their work. The Marc Bohan for Christian Dior blue and white dress in the image below was part of the display.
If you are in the Los Angeles area and would like to schedule an appointment to research in the FIDM Museum Study Collection, please contact Carolyn Jamerson at studycollection@FIDMmuseum.org.