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.
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
Silver Screen to Mainstream: American Fashion in the 1930s and ’40s
April 8, 2019–January 21, 2020
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
March 13, 2013–May 11, 2014
Charles James: Genius Deconstructed
October 22‚ 2011–April 16‚ 2012