Duck dress, c. 1930

  Day dress c. 1930 Gift of Steven Porterfield S2007.897.39 The charming idiosyncrasy of this dress always gets a smile. From a distance, it is simply a black day dress with a 1920s silhouette and bright red applied decoration. But take a closer look... Read Article ››

Madeleine Vionnet evening gown

  Evening gown Madeleine Vionnet c. 1936-1938 Museum Purchase, Funds provided by Mrs. Tonian Hohberg 2008.5.50AB The first time I saw this Madeleine Vionnet halter evening gown, I had a hard time reconciling it with my knowledge of Vionnet's work.... Read Article ››

Monkey fur coat, c. 1938

  Monkey fur inspires strong reactions. On my first encounter with a monkey fur coat, I was shocked by its smooth black locks, which were alarmingly similar to human hair. Among the FIDM Museum staff, we have differing reactions not only to monkey fur,... Read Article ››

Straight to the heart

  Forget roses, forget chocolate! We've got a better gift for you this Valentine's Day--a selection of objects that address the theme of the day, love. Paul Poiret evening gown from La Gazette du Bon Ton 1922, No. 22 FIDM Museum Special... Read Article ››

Newsprint fashion

  A Paul Poiret c. 1911 tunic and the daily newspaper--what do they have in common? At first, the relationship between a haute couture creation and the local newspaper might seem almost non-existent, however, both are communicative devices that convey... Read Article ››

Evening shoes

  Brocade T-Strap Evening Pump Woodward & Lothrop c. 1927 Silk brocade, leather, rhinestone and metal Gift of Vicky Stevenson S2008.948.2A/B During the 1920s and into the 1930s, T-strap shoes were popular for both day and evening wear. This... Read Article ››

See-through dresses of the 1930s

In deciding which objects to showcase on our blog, I often scrutinize the cataloged and photographed objects in our collections management system. During a recent scroll through these images, I was struck by the number of sheer, transparent, and see-through... Read Article ››

Lucien Lelong lipstick packaging

  The use of makeup by American women grew exponentially during the first half of the twentieth century. In the beginning of the century, makeup was primarily an urban phenomenon, gradually spreading to other areas through increased marketing and a... Read Article ››


In current usage, a nightgown is a women's or girls' garment worn specifically for sleeping. At different historical periods, the term nightgown referred to a loose gown worn by men, an evening dress worn by women and a day dress. Accordingly, it... Read Article ››

Nail head dresses

Young cosmopolitans love nail-head glitter!1 Dresses embellished with decorative gold, brass or silver nail heads first appeared in the late 1930s. Usually seen on solid-color "background" dresses of wool or synthetic crepe, nail heads were used as... Read Article ››

Lounge pajamas, c. 1935

During the 1920s, pajamas moved from bedroom to beach. Though pajama style pants were suggested by Paul Poiret as avant garde dress during the teens, pajamas were worn primarily as sleepwear until the 1920s. Sometime during the mid-to-late 1920s, pajamas... Read Article ››

The Little Black Dress

During the nineteenth century, black clothing was usually worn to signify a special status, i.e. mourning, religious piety, extreme poverty or a position of economic and social authority. Because many professional men adopted black suit coats after 1850,... Read Article ››