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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

09-06-07

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"Cashin Plus Six" co-curator Jean Parsons (left) works with ISU graduate student Tekara Stewart (right) in preparing the exhibit in Mary Alice Gallery. Photo by Bob Elbert

Contacts:

Jean Parsons, Textiles and Clothing, (515) 294-4022, jparsons@iastate.edu

Cathy Curtis, College of Human Sciences, (515) 294-8175, ccurtis@iastate.edu

Mike Ferlazzo, News Service, (515) 294-8986, ferlazzo@iastate.edu

"Cashin Plus Six" exhibit to open Sept. 16 in ISU Textiles and Clothing Museum

AMES, Iowa -- Bonnie Cashin is cited by fashion historians as being one of the most influential American designers of the 20th century, creating practical and comfortable clothing for modern women "on the go."

Iowa State University's new Mary Alice Gallery, Textiles and Clothing Museum at Morrill Hall will showcase designs by Cashin in an exhibit of seven influential 20th-century American fashion designers titled "Cashin Plus Six: Crafting an American Style, 1946-1975." The exhibit will open in the Mary Alice Gallery on Sunday, Sept. 16, and run through Sunday, Nov. 18. The gallery is open daily between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

A reception and gallery talk on the exhibit has been scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 7, with the time to be announced at a future date.

"Bonnie Cashin introduced the ideas of the modular wardrobe and the layered look to American women," said Jean Parsons, co-curator for the exhibit and associate professor of clothing and textiles at ISU.

"Cashin's philosophy for dressing American women provided an opportunity to contextualize the individual contributions of each of the seven designers featured in the exhibition and illustrate the significance of American 20th century fashion," she said.

The exhibit is a collaborative exhibition by textiles and clothing faculty at ISU and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Parsons; Susan Torntore, ISU assistant professor of clothing and textiles; and UNL professor Barbara Trout are co-curators. Martha Jane Bute, an ISU textiles and clothing graduate student, has also been instrumental in researching designers and objects for the exhibition.

In addition to Cashin, featured designers in the exhibit include Hattie Carnegie, Ceil Chapman, Claire McCardell, Pauline Trigre, Norman Norell, and James Galanos. These designers all were instrumental in creating an "American look," according to the curators, and they were pivotal in establishing the United States as a world fashion force in the second half of the 20th century.

"They experimented with practical shapes, explored the notion of versatility in dress, and invented new ways to provide comfort and utility with a less structured, modern aesthetic," said Parsons. "They developed fabrics to suit a new more casual and mobile American lifestyle and pioneered an innovative use of trims, hardware, and findings."

All seven designers are represented in the holdings of the cultural and historical textile and apparel collections at both Iowa State University and the University of Nebraska.

Approximately 30 garments from ISU's and UNL's collections are included in the exhibition, with most of them being Cashin's designs. Included will be 12 full ensembles and garments dating from 1962-1975, designer sketches, publicity materials, and a Cashin swatch book. Most of the Cashin pieces are showroom and runway samples, donated to ISU in 1981 by Philip Sills, Cashin's long-time manufacturer in New York City, when he retired and cleaned out his warehouse. Two other important ISU pieces in the exhibition represent the work of designers McCardell and Trigre.

This exhibit is supported in part by the Big 12 Faculty Fellowship Program, the Friends of the Hillestad Textiles Gallery, and the ISU Textiles and Clothing Museum, Center for Visual Learning at Morrill Hall.

The ISU Textiles and Clothing Museum is an interactive learning environment dedicated to the concepts of visual and object-based learning. The museum collects, documents, preserves, interprets, and exhibits a significant teaching collection of more than 8,500 cultural and historical textiles and clothing. The collection is accessible to students, scholars and academic researchers, and for public audiences through exhibitions and programming.

Located within the museum are the Mary Alice Gallery, named in honor of Mary Alice Anderson Reinhardt; the Donna Rae Danielson Textiles and Clothing Conservation Laboratory, and the Textiles and Clothing Collection Storage named in honor of Bertha and Edward Waldee.

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Quick look

ISU's new Mary Alice Gallery, Textiles and Clothing Museum at Morrill Hall will showcase designs by Bonnie Cashin in an exhibit of seven influential 20th-century American fashion designers titled "Cashin Plus Six: Crafting an American Style, 1946-1975." The exhibit will open in the Mary Alice Gallery on Sunday, Sept. 16, and run through Sunday, Nov. 18. The gallery is open daily between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Quote

"Cashin's philosophy for dressing American women provided an opportunity to contextualize the individual contributions of each of the seven designers featured in the exhibition and illustrate the significance of American 20th century fashion."

Jean Parsons