‘Fashion Timeline’ exhibit showcases historic clothing

Nana Battah

“The Fashion Timeline” will feature the Kent State University Fashion Museum’s extensive collection of historic fashions. The exhibit will be open to the public until June 28, 2013, in the Palmer and Mull Galleries.

The exhibition intends to show the evolution of styles while incorporating fashion with applicable political, technological and cultural developments. The first gallery covers the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Revolutionary changes that occurred during these periods can clearly be seen reflected in their respective fashions. The American and French revolutions fundamentally altered the political landscapes, while the Industrial Revolution changed how goods, mainly clothing and textiles, were made. The next room in the exhibit will include the second half of the 19th century to the beginning of World War I.

The last exhibit concludes the Fashion Museum’s timeline with fashions from the early 20th century. According to the museum’s website, “The final room finishes the timeline with fashions of the early twentieth century. While that time period may have been a period of world wars and depression, fashions also reflected the heydays of jazz and swing, the boldness of Art Deco and the endless possibilities of technology from plastics to rockets.”

“Encompassing two centuries of fashion history, this exhibition is designed to show the evolution of styles and silhouettes while contextualizing the pieces with relevant political, technological and cultural developments,” exhibit curator Sara Hume told Effie Tsengas, communications and marketing director for Kent State College of the Arts.

The showcase is projected to be a permanent feature at the museum, but the individual pieces will be alternated regularly so new designs can be viewed. In addition to the outfits on display in the Palmer and Mull Galleries, a variety of accessories, mainly shoes and hats, line the hallways. The outlines are the most noticeable changes from century to century, but there are also obvious changes in materials and colors.

“The Fashion Timeline is such a magnificent exhibit,” Kent resident Heather Walker said. “In my opinion, it’s the best the Kent museum has ever featured. The details were exquisite and not at all sublet between the centuries. Walking through the different rooms and hallways truly felt as if you were going through a timeline.”

Part of the preparation for the Fashion Timeline exhibit was creating designs diagramming the changing fashion silhouettes. According to the museum’s website, “The silhouettes show hemlines rising and falling, skirts widening and narrowing, and waistlines moving up and down the body. Shoulders morph from sloping to broad and square, and hairstyles get piled high then pulled back tightly.”

Contact Nana Battah at [email protected].