A Peek into a Costume Collection: Ann Lowe dresses at the Museum of the City of New York

If you aren’t from New York, The Museum of the City of New York may sound like an unlikely place to find couture gowns. Think about it for another moment though, and it makes sense. The museum collects garments that were worn by residents of New York City— and some New York City residents with old debut gowns and wedding gowns taking up space in their closets have donated their dresses to this collection. I’m not familiar with their institution’s collection guidelines—-some museum’s rarely purchase items at auction or from collectors and they build their collections through donations (of objects or funds with which to go out and purchase objects).  MCNY is probably large enough to acquire objects through donations and targeted purchases of high quality examples of designers who worked in New York.

This video is a bit of a treat! A fashion history contact passed it along to me a little while ago, and I thought it would be fun to share.

It’s not a long video, but we’ll see the curatorial staff  (Phyllis Magidson—who was a very helpful contact when I had some email questions about their group of Ann Lowe dresses when I was in grad school) at the MCNY as they prepare a number of couture dresses in their collection for professional photography—and there’s a small segment about Ann Lowe.



Phyllis Magidson, Fashion Curator

An ostrich-feathered coat, BALENCIAGA's Peacock gown, a set of dresses designed by Ann Lowe, the first prominent African-American designer (whose works included Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress). Elizabeth Farran Tozer Curator of Costumes & Textiles Phyllis Magidson—whose been with the City Museum for 35 years—shows off some midcentury gems from our #DressingRoomNY project, on view through April 30. #PeopleMW #MuseumWeek

Posted by Museum of the City of New York on Tuesday, March 29, 2016