Fundraising Friday: Harvey Nichols, Darling

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 exquisite pieces from the Larson Collection. 


Day Dress
Harvey Nichols, London
c. 1916
Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection

Founded in 1831 in the Knightsbridge district of London, the Harvey Nichols department store is today synonymous with fashion-forward luxury. The store has been instrumental in launching UK designers including Jimmy Choo, Mulberry, and Anya Hindmarch to global fame. "Harvey Nicks" currently has branches in seven UK cities as well as Ireland, Hong Kong, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Dubai. It's an impressive legacy for a man who never actually existed. The store's original owner, Benjamin Harvey, hired James Nichols in 1841; Nichols would marry Harvey's niece in 1848. When Harvey died in 1850, his widow went into partnership with Nichols to form Harvey Nichols & Co. By 1874, the store had expanded so many times that it occupied an entire city block. Undoubtedly, its growth was partly due to innovative marketing; Harvey Nichols sponsored an "advertorial" column in a London newspaper, and placed ads in American Vogue in advance of the Anglo-American Exhibition of 1914. With its tassels, external pockets, decorative buttons, and stripes placed at right angles, this printed silk day dress makes the most of a simple palette of black and white.


J.W. Robinson Co., Los Angeles
c. 1917
Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection

The FIDM Museum has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire these rare and beautiful objects–and many more like them–before the Larson Collection is dispersed forever or sold into private hands. But we need your help to save the Larson Collection. 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!

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