The Western Reserve Historical Society’s Cleveland History Center is opening a new exhibit TODAY, highlighting the impact of French fashions on Cleveland society. It’s called Si Jolie and I was able to attend a media preview last week as they were putting the final touches on this gorgeous new display!
Si Jolie tells the story of how French fashions influenced Clevelanders. Chic locals traveled abroad, spending much of their day in fashion houses. Notable ateliers included that of Charles Frederick Worth – often cited as the first true fashion “designer”.
French Fashion in CLE
Back home, venues like the Cleveland Opera House provided the perfect backdrop to show off the latest styles. Fun Fact: Can you guess what Cleveland landmark now sits at the space once occupied by the Cleveland Opera House? The Corner Alley on Euclid Avenue! Who knew?
Those familiar with Cleveland fashion personas will recognize the name Dixie Lee Davis! I had the opportunity to hear her speak one time, many years ago, at a local Fashion Group International event. Museum Costume and Textiles Curator, Patty Edmonson, highlighted a fashion week piece worn by the famous former Fashion Director for Halle’s.
Patty told us that before the time of celebrities and Kardashians filling the front rows of coveted shows, it was the Fashion Directors and Buyers that occupied those seats. Runway models would have small photo cards made of their outfits and when time came to place orders, buyers would turn in the cards of the garments they wished to purchase. Super-efficient!
Si Jolie Exhibit Details
Be sure to stop in and check out what was ” à la mode” in Cleveland, from the 1880’s and on! Fans of Hermes will not want to miss the contributions of local retailer Cuffs. They are lending several limited-edition and one-of-a-kind scarves to the exhibit. The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday; 10-5 and is located at 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland OH 44106.
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