Shippensburg University
Fashion Archives and Museum

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Beadazzling! Intricate Beadwork on Women's Clothing, 1870-1970
September 27, 2007 — December 5, 2007

From our original press release:
The Fashion Archives and Museum opens the fall semester featuring exceptional examples of beadwork on women's clothing as selected from its permanent collection. The exhibit is open Sept. 27 through Dec. 7, with the opening and reception from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sept. 27.

Under the inspiration and guidance of Dr. Karin J. Bohleke, the museum's new director, the exhibit will feature garments and accessories spanning the 19th and 20th centuries.

Through the meticulous craft of professional dressmakers, trim manufacturers or the talents of the owner, ordinary garments were transformed into either a sumptuous or a simply elegant fashion statement with beads of all shapes and sizes sewn onto the fronts, backs, sleeves, and necklines. To add style to their accessories, the fashion-conscious adorned their handbags, gloves, hats and shoes with beads and other decorative ornaments.

This exhibit reflects contemporary interest in stylish beadwork and glittering trims; it can be a source of inspiration to those now looking to add a touch of beauty to an otherwise plain garment. According to Dr. Bohleke, "Beadwork is an excellent illustration of the limits of technology. While beads can be made by machine or of a variety of natural and synthetic materials, there is no escaping the fact that they must be applied entirely by hand, bringing human skill and artistry to the forefront. I am very excited to put this display together and share stunningly beautiful items with Shippensburg's students, faculty, and the community."

Woman's jacket bodice of tobacco-brown corduroy and gold silk brocade trimmed with cut-steel and silver-toned glass beads, 1890-1891. (S1986-02-001 Toney)