Twentieth-Century Designers


Clothing and Dress


Twentieth-Century Designers


1900 - 1995


Twentieth-Century Fashion Designers

The Historic Textile & Costume Collection (HTCC) houses numerous artifacts that represent the work of twentieth-century fashion designers. The research for the garments included here was conducted by students in a graduate-level class, TMD 570 - Topics in Historic Textiles or Costume, in the Spring 2021 semester. The course utilized a material culture approach to studying fashion history, looking at material culture models and then applying them to the work of fashion designers whose garments are represented in the HTCC. In the Fall 2021 semester, students will use this research to develop and mount an exhibition on Twentieth-Century Fashion Designers in the Textile Gallery in Quinn Hall. 


Linda Welters, PhD
Students of TMD 570 - Material Culture: 20th c. Fashion Designers, Spring 2021

Collection Items

Woman's Gown by Arnold Scaasi
Arnold Scaasi (1930-2015) donated this evening gown, used in his 1991 Autumn/Winter show, to the Historic Textile and Costume Collection in 1997. This was a remarkable year for the designer, in which he received the Council of Fashion Designers of…

Woman's Coat by Givenchy
According to a letter from the donor Rita Grossman, this Givenchy coat is one of several couture pieces she had custom-made in Paris between 1955 and 1974. Grossman cut out the labels to avoid paying a duty tax. The coat and the other designer…

Woman&#039;s Jacket from Yves Saint Laurent<br /><br />
The Russian Collection
Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) launched his prêt-à-porter, or ready to wear collection he titled Rive Gauche in 1966, at the beginning of what was to become a standard practice for fashion designers. This coat is from Saint Laurent’s famous Russian…

Woman&#039;s Evening Gown by Balmain
Pierre Balmain (1914-1982) was one of the most revolutionary designers of his time. His architectural studies and subsequent work for Edward Molyneux and Lucien Lelong shaped him into the designer he became. Balmain created the ‘new French style’…

Woman&#039;s Hostess Dress, Malcolm Starr
This dress features a full-length skirt, bishop sleeves, and a V-shaped neckline. A hook and eye in the front allows the wearer to create a more modest closure if desired. The printed fabrics are a momie weave, a crepe-like fabric made from tightly…

Woman&#039;s &quot;Marii&quot; Gown by Mary McFadden
The dress is believed to have been made between the years 1975 and 1980. McFadden (b. 1938) launched her first collection in 1973 and patented her “Marii” pleating technique two years later. She began Mary McFadden Inc. in 1976, which focused on…

Woman&#039;s Rive Gauche Evening Blazer by Yves Saint Laurent
Many designers are credited for bringing modernity to the forefront of fashion; however, few have ever had the same amount of success as Yves Saint Laurent. Born into a wealthy family in Algeria in 1936 as Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint Laurent,…

Woman&#039;s Shift Dress by Ungaro
This sleeveless, shift-style dress was made in Italy of brown wool gabardine by Emanuel Ungaro (1933-2019), probably within the first few years of Ungaro Paralléle, the label Ungaro launched in 1968 after establishing his company in 1965.The garment…

Woman&#039;s Cherokee Alphabet Pant Suit by Frankie Welch
This suit is part of the Frankie Welch archive in the University of Rhode Island’s Historic Textile and Costume Collection (URI HTCC). The inventory papers which accompany the donation provide important information for many of the pieces, such as the…

Woman&#039;s Cocktail Dress, Ceil Chapman
Ceil Chapman (nee Cecilia Mitchell, 1912-1979) worked in New York City as a designer from the 1940s through the 1960s. After working on Fifth Avenue for over seven years, in about 1940 Chapman briefly entered into business with Gloria (Morgan)…
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