The Costume Council

Fashioning Chicago’s History by Supporting the Costume Collection

Founded by Mrs. Philip K. Wrigley in April 1974, the purpose of the Costume Council is to support the Chicago History Museum as a leader in the documentation and interpretation of the history and the art of fashion. Through the Costume Council’s efforts, the Museum has been able to maintain and grow a thriving collection. The support the Council provides helps the Chicago History Museum care for, conserve, interpret, and display items in the costume collection to further our understanding of history through clothing. The Council also generously supports the Museum’s costume-based exhibitions and is proud to present what has grown to be one of the world’s premier collections, with pieces dating from the eighteenth century to present.

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The Costume Council Photograph by CHM staff.
Join + Give | Costume Council Silver Screen to Mainstream: American Fashion in the 1930s and ’40s exhibition. Photograph by CHM staff.

About the Costume Collection

The Chicago History Museum’s renowned historical fashion collection includes work by distinguished designers such as Charles Frederick Worth, Gabrielle Chanel, Mainbocher, Charles James, Christian Dior, Norman Norell, Geoffrey Beene, Pauline Trigère, Yves Saint Laurent, Hanae Mori, Halston, Gianni Versace, and Christian Lacroix. The collection also represents the rise of Chicago and the dressmakers, milliners, retailers, and manufacturers who made this city their home. Clothing worn by former presidents and first ladies, sports stars, celebrities and everyday people, each exceptional piece is a reflection of Chicago and fashion history. Membership to the Costume Council is by nomination only.

Recent Costume Exhibitions

Treasured Ten: Selections from the Costume Collection

Treasured Ten: Selections from the Costume Collection

April 9, 2022–January 16, 2023

Silver Screen to Mainstream: American Fashion in the 1930s and ’40s

April 8, 2019–January 21, 2020

Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier

Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier

October 22, 2016–August 20, 2017

Chicago Styled: Fashioning The Magnificent Mile®

November 15, 2014–August 16, 2015

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair 

March 13, 2013–May 11, 2014

Charles James: Genius Deconstructed

October 22‚ 2011–April 16‚ 2012



Head-to-Toe Sponsors


Rhapsody in Red

  • Liz Stiffel

Silver Lining

  • D. Elizabeth Price


Women’s Look Sponsors

  • Carlette C. McMullan
  • Lyssa Piette
  • D. Elizabeth Price
  • Liz Stiffel

Men’s Look Sponsor

  • Richard and Diane Weinberg



Have a research question?

View our research collection resources here or send us an inquiry by filling out our object form here. We are happy to assist you in your research.


Contact Us

Interested in joining the Costume Council? Contact Hannah Johnson, member relations manager at Membership is by nomination only.

The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum
1601 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois 60614 

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