The FIDM Museum is in the final weeks of a major fundraising campaign to purchase the Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection, a private collection of 1,400 historic garments and accessories from four centuries. Each Friday, this blog will present an exquisite piece from the Larson Collection.
"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown," Shakespeare wrote. But Queen Victoria had other headgear alternatives, such as this black wool felt hat trimmed with black silk velvet and ostrich feathers. The chic chapeau would not have added significantly to her 4' 7" frame, but the splash of white might have enlivened the all-black wardrobe she adopted after the death of her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861. Helen Larson purchased the hat along with its carved and beaded hat stand from an auction of items belonging to the queen, who was nicknamed "the Widow of Windsor." The Larson Collection includes 30 pieces of her wardrobe in total, and several more associated with her children and her daughter-in-law Alexandra, who became queen consort upon Victoria's death in 1901.
The FIDM Museum has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire this rare and beautiful piece--and many more like it--before the Larson Collection is dispersed forever or sold into private hands, inaccessible to students, researchers, and the general public. But we need your help to save the Larson Collection. We have raised more than twenty percent of the necessary funds, but we still have a long way to go, and time is running out! Please make a contribution online or by mail, or join our #4for400 social media campaign to donate $4 (or more) by texting "Museum" to 243725. Donations are tax deductible; if your company or organization has a matching gift program, your support will go even further. You can also help by spreading the word on social media, using the #4for400 hashtag. The FIDM Museum as until the end of 2015 to finish raising the necessary funds, so please join the campaign and help save 400 years of fashion history!