My Grandma Gilbert was a classy lady. Tall. Thin. Perfect posture.
And she knew how to dress, too. Structured jackets, turtlenecks, broaches.
So when Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Fashion and Design, explained the new Historic Costume Gallery exhibit to me, I couldn’t help but smile and think of Grandma.
McMurry’s concept for the latest show was the evolving wardrobe of a socialite between 1947 and around 1977, although there is one dress in the collection from 1990. When pulling pieces from Stephens Costume Museum & Research Library for the exhibit, she envisioned how the woman likely chose quality, tailored, classic pieces for her wardrobe that would not go out of style. The collection will include a couple of oddities; McMurry imagined that many women likely experimented with trends over the decades (especially in the 1960s).
The new exhibit, Emergence, opens Feb. 22 and runs through May 5. A cool twist: At the end of March, some of the winter pieces will be swapped out for spring items. (Because, of course, a woman would have to make room in her closet for her seasonal wardrobes!)
Grandma was anything but the socialite McMurry & Co. were envisioning when they were pulling pieces for the collection. She lived in the small town of Newburg most of her life and was the type of woman who could kill a snake with a shovel without breaking a nail. She lived alone in her older years and continued to raise a garden, keep an immaculate house and still dress like a million bucks way past her prime.
She might not have gone for some of the dresses in the Emergence exhibit (Although, Mom, you’ll love this one…
But Grandma would have loved some of the pieces. I can totally picture her wearing this…