Sun-Drenched Style Now Open

“Something new under the sun! Something daring and different!” A 1946 California Fashion Promotion in the Chicago Daily Tribune proclaimed that West Coast fashion was at the cutting edge of casual clothes, designing on-trend sportswear that fit all aspects of a modern lifestyle. In the FIDM Museum's latest exhibition Sun-Drenched Style: California Mid-Century Women Designers, we focus on five women who contributed to California's reputation as a style center in the mid-twentieth century. Louella Ballerino, Margit Fellegi, Agnes Barrett, Addie Masters, and Rose Marie Reid understood the evolving wardrobe needs of women, and provided fashionable solutions that could adapt to a changing way of life. From outdoor barbecues to poolside cocktails, all of the ensembles in our exhibition uniquely are suited to California activities, both indoor and outdoor. We examine how modern architecture influenced fashion, and why these five designers in particular were so important in California's fashion journey. 

On Saturday, November 12, the FIDM Museum Fashion Council hosted its annual Fall Lecture Day in conjunction with the opening of Sun-Drenched Style. Mid-century California cuisine complimented bright bird of paradise centerpieces and atomic turquoise napkins – everything was on theme down to the last jello mold! After attendees explored the new exhibition, they listened to three presentations on the fashion, interior design, and textiles of the era: how women designers shaped California fashion, how architecture and art co-existed with clothing, and what advances were made in textile technology and design. 

Thank you to all who attended our opening luncheon and lecture day! We invite everyone to visit the FIDM Orange County campus to see Sun-Drenched Style, open now until June 10. Call 949.851.6200 to make an appointment! FIDM Orange County is located at 17590 Gilette Avenue, Irvine, CA 92614.


Sun-Drenched Style Gallery, exhibition design by FIDM Museum Creative Director Peter Lam


Speaker Leigh Wishner with FIDM Museum Associate Curator Christina Johnson


Mary Roosevelt, FIDM Museum Director Barbara Bundy, and Fashion Council Chair Mima Ransom


FIDM Museum Associate Joanna Abijaoude 


FIDM Interior Design Chair Dina Morgan and FIDM Museum Curator Kevin Jones


Gorgeous bird of paradise centerpieces


Crop top, Louella Ballerino, 1946, Gift of Patricia Marks; Jeans, Crown Play Togs, 1940s, Museum Purchase; Handkerchief, c. 1950, Gift of Anonymous Donor; Belt, 1940s, Gift of Steven Porterfield


Ensemble by Agnes Barrett (left) and blouse by Addie Masters (right)


Colleen Crosby and Diane Yoshitomi embrace the exhibition's mid-century theme!


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