The French Connection (2010 Exhibit)

For centuries, French clothes were considered de rigueur for fashionable women all over the world.  More than status symbols, French labels guaranteed an article’s quality.  The clothes featured in this exhibit were purchased by Wichita women and range from the corsets and bustles of the1880s, to the chemise style of the 1920s flapper, to Christian Dior’s softer post-war look of the late 1940s, to the 1960s youth revolution, to the bright colors of the1990s. For many, French fashion has a je ne sais quoi, that indefinable something that sets French clothes apart from all others.

Navy blue velvet dress with jet decoration. Label: F.E. Chambers/ Modiste. Circa 1880. Gift of Mrs. Charles Brown. Worn by Cordelia Pratt.

Taupe silk sleeveless dress with beads and lace. Label: Made in France. Circa 1925. Gift of Louise Vesper. Worn by the donor.

Blue velvet sleeveless dress with bugle beads. Label: Made in France/ Rue de la Prix Gown/ Paris. Circa 1925. Gift of the Brown-Williams Estate.

Multicolor velvet on black chiffon with beads. Attributed to Patou. 1927. Gift of Mrs. John Eberhardt.

Navy silk dress. Label: Christian Dior – Original. Circa 1947. Gift of Elizabeth Buzzi Koch; worn by Mary Robinson Koch.

Gray hounds tooth wool suit. Label: NINA RICCI 20 Rue Des Capucines Paris.  Circa 1950. Gift of Elizabeth Buzzi Koch; worn by Mary Robinson Koch.

Multicolor suit with yellow knit blouse. Label: Made in France. Circa 1965. Gift of Rochelle Levitt. Worn by the donor.

Red wool crepe sleeveless dress. Label: Pierre Cardin/ New York/ Paris.

Circa 1965. Gift of Joan Boushka. Worn by the donor.

Pink wool crepe suit with chiffon bow. Label: Angelo Tarlazzi/ Paris. Circa 1990. Gift of Elizabeth Buzzi Koch. Worn by the donor.

Black velvet dress, belt with jeweled clasp. Label: Made in France/ Lydia Carlton/ Nice/ Paris. Circa 1990. Gift of Elizabeth Buzzi Koch. Worn by the donor.

Multicolor silk quilted suit. Label: Louis Feraud. Circa 1990. Museum Purchase. Worn by Marguerite Nicolay.

Red wool cocktail suit. Label: Louis Feraud. Circa 1990. Museum Purchase.Worn by Virginia White.