UC Collection of Works by Dramatic Designer
Date: Feb. 20, 2001
to Receive Rare Showing
Story by: Mary Bridget Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos by: Colleen Kelley
Archive: General News
If you're a fan of old movies, there's a good chance you've seen costumes and garments created by costume- and fashion design pioneer Bonnie Cashin.
Her handiwork appeared in the 1944 movie "Laura" starring Clifton Webb and Gene Tierney, in the 1946 version of "Anna and the King of Siam" with Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison as well as the 1940s film adaptation of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."
The UC and local community have the chance to now see a significant Cashin collection on campus when the fashion design program's 180-piece collection of Cashin wear is displayed Friday, March 9 in Room 4400 (the main auditorium) of the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.
Garments from the UC collection will be modeled by students and placed on dress forms during a 9 a.m. to noon end-of-quarter critique for the fashion design students, according to Margie Voelker-Ferrier, associate professor of fashion design.
Several garments will remain on display for a special 5:30-7 p.m. lecture by award-winning New York designer Anthony Muto who will speak on Cashin's career and influence. Muto's designs have been featured in books and as part of museum exhibits at such venues as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition, his designs have been worn by several first ladies: Barbara Bush, Rosalynn Carter, Pat Nixon and Lady Bird Johnson. In recalling Cashin's influence, Muto recalled, "She was the first to do layering, to view how ethnic clothes, clothes from the Far East could be applied to Western dress." He added, "She opened up so many ideas to me...each designer's work is a stepping stone to the future, and she was that for me."
Cashin's influential career began in 1931 when she worked as a 16-year-old costume designer for a Los Angeles dance troupe. She focused on accentuating the dancers' movements and telling a story through her designs. In 1934, she moved to New York to design costumes for the Roxyettes, the in-house danceline at the Roxy Theater, as well as designs for a clientele of theater performers.
She later became the chief designer of ready-to-wear for a prestigious coat and suit manufacturer (Adler & Adler) and then worked as a Hollywood costume designer, creating garments for more than 60 films. Cashin later returned to Seventh Avenue where poncho, Asian cuts, leather and layers became hallmarks of her lines. In 1950, she won the two highest honors in American fashion: the Coty Fashion Critic's Award and the Neiman Marcus Award. She was the first designer to receive both awards in the same year.
While some of UC's Cashin garments will be on display in Room 4400 DAAP during the morning and evening events on March 9, the remainder of the UC collection will be on view that day in Room 6320 DAAP. Both the 9 a.m. critique and the 5:30 p.m. lecture by Muto are free and open to the public; however, a $10 donation is requested for attending the lecture. Proceeds from the lecture will benefit UC's fashion design program and 2001 annual fashion show June 1. For more information, call (513) 588-0148.