20th Century Designer Collection

The Collection’s main strength is its selection of women’s garments by American fashion designers. Showcasing a history of twentieth century fashion, the majority of artifacts date from the mid to late century.

Several designers are well-represented with over fifty individual examples of their work; some with close to a hundred. American designers James Galanos, Arnold Scaasi, Pauline Trigere, and Calvin Klein have all donated garments from their collection archives to the Collection. In addition to these designers, photos, sketches, and other documentation accompany the collections of Irene and Bonnie Cashin garments.

Ann Rudolph Button Collection

Satsuma Button

One of the many buttons in the Ann Rudolph Button Collection.

TheĀ Ann Rudolph Button Collection, with over 25,000 artifacts, is one of the most complete holdings of buttons and button-related materials in the United States. It includes representative examples of almost every type of button, many of which are unique, rare and seldom available to scholars and collectors.

Read more about the Ann Rudolph Button Collection

Read an onCampus article about the button collection.

Textile Collection

Textiles in the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection are from both Western and non-Western traditions.

The earliest textiles date from the fifteenth century. Pre-Columbian South American textile artifacts woven on a backstrap loom and silk velvet European liturgical textiles span the technology of textile manufacturing at this time.

The approximately 1,000 textile examples offer a historical chronology of Western textile design and manufacturing techniques for both dress as well as furnishing fabrics including quilts, coverlets, paisley shawls and Spanish shawls.

The Collection also offers many examples of design and manufacturing techniques from cultures around the globe. Especially significant is a collection of over 60 Indonesian ikat textiles from the collection of Fred Richman.

Traphagen Collection

In 1995, the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection purchased five 19th century garments from the estate of Ethel Traphagen, and received 69 others as a donation from her heirs. Ethel Traphagen, a fashion designer who is credited with introducing shorts and slacks into American women’s fashion, founded the Traphagen School of Fashion in New York City in the 1920s. The school was known for its technical orientation of fashion design, with courses in pattern making and draping. The school closed its doors in the early 1990s. (The only records from the school that remain are held by the New York State Department of Education. These are the academic records (transcripts) of the students who attended Traphagen. If students need that information they would need to write directly to the NY State Department of Education providing the pertinent details including the years that they attended Traphagen.)

Some of the better known names in the fashion industry attended the Traphagen School of Fashion. Alumni members include: Geoffrey Beene, James Galanos, Mary McFadden, John Kloss, Christos Yiannakou, and African-American designer Franklin Rowe.

The Traphagen collection at the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection consists of 74 garments and 33 assorted hats. The costumes range in date from the 1830s to the 1910s, with particular strength in the 1890s. The hats date from the 1820s up to the early 1950s. The Traphagen collection includes garments exemplifying the silhouettes of the 19th century, others are remarkable for their fabrics and opulence, and a few have French labels.

Ethnographic Dress

The collection of ethnographic dress in the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection includes folk costume, and traditional dress worn outside the Western fashion tradition. Complete ensembles from various time periods and geographic cultures are represented, displaying a vast array of embellishment techniques.

Examples include:

  • Complete pre-WWII Japanese wedding kimono in three layers of obi, obi aga, tabi, and geta
  • Children’s kimono for the Japanese ceremony Shichi-go-san
  • Complete Macedonian wedding ensemble