Masks required in Abakanowicz Research Center; optional for rest of Museum MORE


Making Mainbocher

Chicago-born Mainbocher (1890–1976) established a fashion empire serving royalty, Broadway icons, and the social elite. Raised in a modest home on the city’s West Side, he leveraged his passion for the arts to become a tastemaker of twentieth-century style. His acclaimed designs include the wedding dress for the Duchess of Windsor in 1937 and a corseted style that anticipated Christian Dior’s New Look.

Highly regarded for his impeccable construction and understated elegance, Mainbocher balanced his elite brand by designing uniforms for the United States Navy, the Girl Scouts of America, and Chicago’s Passavant Hospital. Featuring thirty garments, fashion illustrations, and photography, this exhibition explores the life and legacy of a remarkable man and his journey to become the first American couturier.

Making Mainbocher is supported by the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum with presenting sponsor Liz Stiffel and lead corporate sponsor Luvanis. The FashioNext teen program is sponsored by the Efroymson Family Fund.

The Details


Until August 20, 2017

Included in


Benjamin Benedict Green-Field Gallery

Learn more

Included with General Admission





(Ages 65+)



(13-22 with ID)



(Free for ages 12 and younger)

We’re open and ready to share Chicago stories with you while continuing our health and safety procedures. While masks are recommended and appreciated, they are no longer required. Learn more.


We encourage visitors to purchase tickets in advance online.
Discounts can only be applied on tickets purchased in person.


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*Illinois Resident Children 18 and under are FREE

*Non-Illinois Resident Children 12 and under are FREE

2022 Illinois Resident Free Days: January 17; February 1–4, 9, 21; March 4; June 19, 23, 30; July 4; August 23–26, 30–31; October 10

Access to the Abakanowicz Research Center is by appointment only. Find more information here.

Learn about our backpack & large bag policy.

City of Chicago residents receive a $2 discount (with valid ID)



    Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories