Story by Kristin Breakell
The Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising’s Spring 2017 exhibitions highlight pieces from its extensive permanent collection of historic apparel as well as exceptional recent work by student designers.
The exhibits include fashions made from recycled materials, bridal attire across many decades, and notable designer garments adorned with floral motifs.
“Garden Party” presents a survey of 150 years of women’s apparel influenced by flowers – from dainty prints of small sprigs in the post-Civil War era to velvet burnouts in the 1920s to bold explosions of 1960s flower power.
The exhibit takes advantage of the museum’s close proximity to the colorful CSU Annual Trial Garden, located in front of the University Center for the Arts building.
The Avenir Museum team worked closely with James Klett, a professor of Landscape Horticulture, Ornamentals and Nursery Management in the College of Agricultural Sciences and a CSU Extension specialist, to identify the species of flowers in the various textile designs. This horticultural information is included in the exhibition label for each garment.
“Garden Party” will be on display until May 19, and a guest lecture for the exhibit will be held on May 4.
‘New Threads’ – The Lucile E. Hawks Gallery
“New Threads” is an ongoing exhibition featuring apparel and flat textiles that have been donated recently to the museum. Many of the objects in “New Threads” represent educational opportunities and are intended as study pieces for undergraduate, graduate and faculty research.
One of the garments featured is a green velvet skirt-suit made by a student in the early 1950s, in what is now the Department of Design and Merchandising at CSU.
Megan Osborne, museum curator and collections manager at the Avenir, named this garment among her favorites in the exhibit.
“Just picking one favorite is really difficult, but the green velvet skirt-suit was made by one of the students in the program,” she said. “It really represents the institutional history of the Design and Merchandising program and the University as a whole.”
Fascinating additions that illustrate the breadth of the recent donations include lingerie from a 1926 wedding trousseau, a vibrantly dyed serape from Monterrey, Mexico, and a pair of Moroccan goatskin cushion covers.