The FIDM Museum is in the final months 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.
Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection
Venice-based fashion designer Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949) is best known for his columnar, classically inspired Delphos and Peplos gowns of lightweight silk, finely pleated using a secret technique that has never been duplicated. But those gowns were intended to be worn at home, in private, as elegant leisurewear. For more formal, public occasions, Fortuny created unstructured but dramatic evening coats and tunics of luxurious textiles embellished with metallic stencilling, like this evening ensemble of tunic, belt, and drawstring purse. The seafoam-green velvet--a nod to Venice's maritime heritage--is stamped and printed in silver with a floral and geometric motif evoking medieval lace, perhaps alluding to the city's historic lacemaking industry. Combining rich textile traditions with modern minimalism and technology, Fortuny designed clothes that were both futuristic and timeless. This ensemble is just one of eight pieces by the legendary couturier in the Larson Collection.
Helen Larson spent 50 years assembling her collection; now, it is in danger of being dispersed forever or absorbed into another private collection, inaccessible to students, researchers, and the general public. The FIDM Museum needs your help to save the Larson collection. You can make a contribution of any amount 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 has a matching gift program, your support will go even further. The FIDM Museum has until the end of 2015 to finish raising the necessary funds, so please join the campaign and help make fashion history!