Exotica: Fashion & Film Costume of the 1920s

You may have noticed in recent visits to the FIDM Museum that we now have an updated History Gallery, a space where rotating exhibitions display objects from our Permanent Collection. We've already filled this special gallery with treasures in A Graceful Gift: Fans from the Mona Lee Nesseth Collection and ManMode: Dressing the Male Ego. We are excited to announce that on February 7, Exotica: Fashion & Film Costume of the 1920s will debut in the FIDM Museum History Gallery. This exhibition will be shown in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of our annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition, where we will celebrate movie costumes past, present, and future. 

Exotica will examine the international influences seen in early film costumes. Exotic locations have long inspired fashion designers to re-imagine contemporary dress into hybrid silhouettes mixing East and West. Their creations evoke lands outside Western borders through unfamiliar motifs and patterns. In the 1920s, cinema storylines whisked viewers to out-of-the-way locales ruled by maharajahs, sultans, or conquistadors. These fantasy productions of epic proportions were staged on vast sets with thousands of exotically garbed extras. Hollywood’s influence on fashion trends was unstoppable as millions of fans bought into the dream that they, too, could inhabit their idols’ identities in store-bought coats and dresses mimicking Egyptian wraps, Mayan tunics, or Chinese cheongsam. Exotica: Fashion & Film Costume of the 1920s takes us on global adventures to explore fashion’s fascination with the "foreign" in film.

Here is a sneak peek of objects featured in Exotica, opening to the public on Tuesday, February 7, 2017!

IMG_3821Evening Coat, 1920s
Gift of Prentiss Durst

20160921_142321Silk Coat, c. 1923
Gift of Lucy Bradley

20160921_141633Evening Dress, c. 1925
French, Callot Soeurs
Museum Purchase


Day Coat, 1920s

IMG_3812Velvet Evening Coat, c. 1928
Yvonne May
Gift of Gay Anderson

Pajama Ensemble, 1920s
Gift of Christine Grant

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