New Avenir exhibits feature blooms, brides, student designs

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.

Floral Dresses‘Garden Party’ – The Richard Blackwell Gallery

“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

Velvet Suit“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.

Avenir announces Spring Lecture Series

The Spring 2017 lectures highlight the wide range of the Avenir Museum’s current exhibitions and feature an intriguing array of textile topics. Visitors are encouraged to come early and visit the galleries before each lecture. Lectures start at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

‘Eco-Fashion: Through the Looking Glass’ – Thursday, Feb. 16

Professor Diane Sparks of CSU’s Department of Design and Merchandising presents a fascinating introduction to “Eco Fashion,” which is a centerpiece of the Design Foundation (AM 130) course. 

‘Tying the Knot’ – Thursday, March 30

In conjunction with the March 27 opening of the bridal exhibition Tying the Knot, the Avenir Museum is delighted to welcome back Department of Design and Merchandising alumna Lauren Lotspeich (‘16) to speak about the modern bridal apparel industry.

You’re Invited to a Garden Party! – Thursday, May 4
The Avenir Museum’s current “Garden Party” exhibition celebrates 150 years of floral influence on women’s apparel – 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. Please join us to hear natural dye gardener and artist Donna Brown discuss the direct connections between what’s in your garden and what’s in your wardrobe. 

Lavender Bridal DressComing soon! ‘Tying the Knot’ – Avenir Museum Gallery

“Tying the Knot,” an exhibit showing the evolution of bridal customs and attire over a century and a half, opens March 27 and will be on display until Aug. 11.

A ‘Save the Date’ preview of three select wedding gowns is in place now, while the full installation will be under way in early March. The final exhibition will contain 15-18 garments ranging in origin from 1842 to 1987, as well as examples of bridal lace from the past 200 years.

One of the preview gowns is an unusual lavender lace halter back dress worn for a 1936 wedding that took place in Philadelphia. The dress was worn with a matching long-sleeved lace cape and broad-brimmed purple sunhat.

In conjunction with the March opening of “Tying the Knot,” a featured lecture will take place on March 30.

Recycled Materials Dress‘Eco Fashion: Through the Looking Glass’ – Avenir Gallery in the UCA

The garments that were shown on the runway in the recycled fashion show presented by the CSU student chapter of Fashion Group International in October are now on display in the Avenir Gallery in the University Center for the Arts (Room 115). The exhibit is titled, “Eco Fashion: Through the Looking Glass,” and features student designs made from recycled materials. The garments were inspired by Lewis Carroll’s 1871 novel Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There and will be on display until Sept. 1.

Ptero-Couture‘Ptero-Couture: Fashion in the Age of Dinosaurs’ – Gustafson Gallery in the Gifford Building

“Ptero-Couture: Fashion in the Age of Dinosaurs” is featured in the Gustafson Gallery until April 14. The exhibition highlights the recent collaboration between the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and CSU’s apparel design students. The student creations are inspired by the “Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs” exhibit at the Museum of Discovery, bringing together the worlds of prehistoric aviation and modern style to highlight the astonishing connection between flight and fashion.

NOTE: The Gustafson Gallery is located in Room 318 of the Gifford Building (502 West Lake Street), on the CSU campus.  Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Contact/visit the Avenir

  • Location: 216 E. Lake Street, University Center for the Arts-East building – Campus Map
  • Hours: Monday through Friday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Admission: Free; self-guided
  • Contact: (970) 491-1983

The Avenir Museum is part of the Department of Design and Merchandising in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.