Stephens College has a long reputation for excellence in fashion. Today our program is considered one of the top 50 schools for fashion in the world. We are proud to bring the art of fashion to the community through public events, including an annual fashion show, and by exhibiting items from our Costume Museum & Research Library. We also partner with local community businesses and civic organizations on a variety of fashion-related projects. Learn more about the School of Design, the home of our fashion program.
Two public exhibits are held in the Historic Costume Gallery (on the mezzanine floor of Lela Raney Wood Hall, 6 N. College Ave.) throughout the year. All exhibits are free and open to the public. All items displayed are pulled from the Costume Museum & Research Library. Established in 1958, the library has grown by donations from alumnae, friends and designers to more than 13,000 pieces, including representations of ethnic wear, everyday clothes of women, men and children, and an impressive list of designer garments.
Among the many designers represented are Oleg Cassini, Arnold Scaasi, Gilbert Adrian, Bill Blass, Bonnie Cashin, Chanel, Courreges, Madame Etta, Claire McCardell, Norman Norell, Oscar de la Renta and Valentino. This working collection of garments and accessories dating back to 1730 allows students to study not only garment construction but fashion trends that provide inspiration for current styles with actual hands-on experience. Archival storage areas protect the integrity of the collection, and classroom space allows for research and lecture discussions.
The Joan Crawford Effect
Oct. 6-Dec. 17, 2017
Opening reception will be 5-9 p.m. on Oct. 6
This exhibition looks at how the collaboration between Academy Award-winning Hollywood star, Joan Crawford (1904-1977) and costume designer, Adrian Adolph Greenberg (1903-1959) influenced fashion in the 1930s and 1940s. Greenberg, who was known simply as “Adrian” in the fashion world, helped create Crawford’s signature broad-shouldered look, a design he crafted to conceal the actress’s naturally broad shoulders. The exhibit will include 1930s and 1940s suits and evening gowns from the permanent collections—including a ’30s Letty Lynton-inspired gown. Dress history has it that more than 50,000 copies of the original white cotton organdygown with large ruffled sleeves, puffed at the shoulder that Adrian designed for Crawford in the 1932 movie were sold at the New York Macy’s store alone. There will also be never-before-exhibited archives related to Crawford’s short time as a student at Stephens College in the 1920s, including handwritten letters from Crawford to Stephens College President James Madison Wood.
12 to 1 p.m. Wednesdays
5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays
12 to 3 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays
Closed during Stephens College holidays.
Spring 2017: Head Over Heels
Fall 2016: Scaasi: Fashioning a Colorful Life
Spring 2016: Playing Dress Up: How Kids See Clothing
Fall 2015: REEL to REAL: Hollywood’s Influence on American Fashion
Spring 2015: The Day, The Dress, The Dream
Fall 2014: Faux Real
Spring 2014: Her Story
Fall 2013: Bohemian Rhapsody
Spring 2013: Emergence
Columbia Daily Tribune: Show and Tell: Stephens College exhibit explores how children interact with fashion
Columbia Daily Tribune: "Lights, Camera, Fashion"
KBIA: Intersection: Exploring Stephens College Reel to Real Exhibit
For more information:
Costume Museum & Research Library
School of Design
Campus Box 2042
1200 E. Broadway
Our fashion design students work all school year to turn their concepts into designs and designs into garments that they proudly reveal at the annual student designer fashion show, The Collections. Students are charged with coming up with creative denim and weekend wear, contemporary sportswear, and tailored designs. Fashion design seniors are responsible for entire collections. Each year specialty design categories such as garments with a social cause or engineered printing on fabric are part of the runway experience. Read more about the student designer fashion show.
Missed the Spring 2017 show? Watch the live stream:
In the News:
See a full calendar of Stephens events here.
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