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Mid-20th Century Women's Garments


The Museum holds a striking collection of mid-20th century garments worn by notable New York women and created by celebrated designers. The women's costumes, ranging from jumpsuits to evening gowns, document the city’s arrival as a fashion capital, and date from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Thanks to the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Museum can now publicly share this collection online.
Coat of white rabbit fur inlaid with large-scale orange flowers with emerald green leaves

Coat of white rabbit fur inlaid with large-scale orange flowers with emerald green leaves

Coat of white rabbit fur inlaid with bright orange and emerald green abstract flowers and leaves (large-scale,...

Coat in navy blue and white silk check

Coat in navy blue and white silk check

Double-breasted spring coat in navy blue and white silk check; A-line; knee-length; wide rolled collar,...

Cocktail dress in black silk faille

Cocktail dress in black silk faille

Cocktail dress in black silk faille. A: Fitted cocktail dress with full pleated skirt, below-knee length;...

Coat in pale pink tinted ostrich feathers on silk gauze over grey taffeta

Coat in pale pink tinted ostrich feathers on silk gauze over grey taffeta

Coat of pale pink tinted ostrich feathers horizontally banded on grosgrain ribbon, mounted on silk gauze...

Ball gown of deep green silk faille

Ball gown of deep green silk faille

Dress of deep green silk faille; A-line; full-length; round neck; short sleeves; natural waistline; bodice...

Ball gown of coral velvet, pale coral silk and applied oversize velvet dots

Ball gown of coral velvet, pale coral silk and applied oversize velvet dots

Dress of coral velvet and pale coral stiff silk; A-line; full-length; scoop neck; sleeveless; velvet...

"Smoking" evening ensemble comprising tuxedo-style jacket and pants and black silk chiffon blouse

"Smoking" evening ensemble comprising tuxedo-style jacket and pants and black silk chiffon blouse

A: Tuxedo-style jacket; double-breasted, slightly fitted; crotch length; collar with deeply notched lapels,...

"Tissue-of-Diamonds" evening dress

"Tissue-of-Diamonds" evening dress

Evening dress of silk net hand-studded with crystal brilliants over peach crepe-back silk charmeuse;...

Ensemble comprising ball gown and coat

Ensemble comprising ball gown and coat

Ball gown and coat ensemble. A: Pale yellow silk taffeta princess-style dress; full-length; jewel neckline;...

Ball gown of purple satin and deep pink silk with horizontal rep stripes

Ball gown of purple satin and deep pink silk with horizontal rep stripes

Dress of purple satin and deep pink silk rep stripe in purple, black and green. A: A-line, full-length...

Suit in stock dyed grey wool tweed cheviot comprising jacket and skirt

Suit in stock dyed grey wool tweed cheviot comprising jacket and skirt

Suit in stock dyed grey wool tweed cheviot. A: Unfitted box-shaped jacket; hip length; cardigan neckline;...

Ensemble comprising ankle-length coat and miniskirt in red vinyl

Ensemble comprising ankle-length coat and miniskirt in red vinyl

Ensemble of red cloth-backed vinyl. A: A-line coat; full length; high yoke; stand-up collar; long sleeves;...

Evening ensemble comprising evening dress and coat in ice blue silk gazar

Evening ensemble comprising evening dress and coat in ice blue silk gazar

Evening ensemble of ice blue silk gazar. A: A-line dress; six-panel princess style; full length; round...

Cocktail dress of bubble gum pink worsted wool jersey with black satin trim

Cocktail dress of bubble gum pink worsted wool jersey with black satin trim

Cocktail dress of bubble gum pink worsted wool jersey and black silk satin trim; straight; knee-length;...

Dress of white cotton blend

Dress of white cotton blend

White cotton blend plain-weave dress; A-line; above-knee length; stand-up collar; sleeveless; seam down...

Cocktail dress of white cotton pique with cutouts and embroidery

Cocktail dress of white cotton pique with cutouts and embroidery

Dress of white cotton pique, cutouts and embroidered in white cotton floss, delineating large five-petaled...

Dress and stole in embroidered, rhinestone studded chrome yellow linen

Dress and stole in embroidered, rhinestone studded chrome yellow linen

Chrome yellow linen allover embroidered in purple and green chainstitch floral foliate designs, studded...

Ball gown of dark green silk chiffon over pale pink silk faille

Ball gown of dark green silk chiffon over pale pink silk faille

Dress of dark green silk chiffon over pale pink silk faille; princess style; full-length; scoop neck;...

Evening dress of red wool jersey and black wool crepe

Evening dress of red wool jersey and black wool crepe

Evening dress of red wool jersey bodice, black wool crepe skirt; straight; full-length; round neckline;...

Evening dress of gunmetal grey silk faille

Evening dress of gunmetal grey silk faille

Dress of gunmetal grey silk faille: unfitted to floor, stitched fold from left shoulder to curve in hem;...

Evening dress of white linen densely embroidered with large sequin flowers in relief

Evening dress of white linen densely embroidered with large sequin flowers in relief

White linen plain-weave dress, densely embroidered all over with large sequin flowers and vegetables...

Dinner ensemble comprising coat and dress with coordinating slip

Dinner ensemble comprising coat and dress with coordinating slip

Dinner ensemble. A: Coat in pale aqua and white large scale floral printed medium weight silk; A-line;...

"Prairie dress" in floral printed cotton with linen machine wheel lace insertion

"Prairie dress" in floral printed cotton with linen machine wheel lace insertion

A: Dress in black cotton broadcoth with pastel floral print; full-length gathered skirt with matching...

Dress in fuchsia, yellow and indigo boteh design printed on white Indian cotton voile

Dress in fuchsia, yellow and indigo boteh design printed on white Indian cotton voile

Dress with matching kerchief in white cotton voile printed in fuschia, yellow and indigo boteh pattern....

Evening ensemble in geometric printed cotton velveteen, comprising cloak and dress

Evening ensemble in geometric printed cotton velveteen, comprising cloak and dress

Evening ensemble comprising cloak and dress in cotton velveteen printed in bold kelly green, seafoam,...

Romper-style playsuit with printed blue flowers and grey kittens on white ground, with sash

Romper-style playsuit with printed blue flowers and grey kittens on white ground, with sash

A: Romper-style one-piece playsuit in white cotton printed with blue flowers and grey kittens; straight;...

Maxi coat with oversize concentric disks printed on Alizarin red velvet ground

Maxi coat with oversize concentric disks printed on Alizarin red velvet ground

A: Bright Alizarin red cotton velvet maxi coat printed with bold discs in red, black, white and brown...

Dress of black wool with belt

Dress of black wool with belt

A: Straight, fitted, black wool minidress; high-neck collar; long sleeves; natural waistline; pleats...

Suit in tan wild Indian silk

Suit in tan wild Indian silk

Suit comprising jacket and skirt in tan wild Indian silk. A: Box-shaped, hip-length jacket with wide...

Minidress of bright pink crepe with white crepe sleeves

Minidress of bright pink crepe with white crepe sleeves

A: Bright pink silk crepe dress, straight, above knee-length; round neckline; long butterfly sleeves...

Suit in beige silk shantung comprising suit and jacket

Suit in beige silk shantung comprising suit and jacket

Suit in beige silk shantung. A: Single-breasted jacket, fitted to natural waist, flared to hem; hip-length;...

Evening ensemble comprising overblouse and skirt in pink and white twill with confection beading

Evening ensemble comprising overblouse and skirt in pink and white twill with confection beading

Evening dress comprising overblouse, skirt, belt and stole in silk and cotton twill. A: Bubble gum pink...

Evening caftan in black silk velvet

Evening caftan in black silk velvet

Black silk velvet evening caftan; A-line; full-length; high, slightly widened jewel neckline; full-length...

Sundress in floral printed black cotton

Sundress in floral printed black cotton

Sundress in black cotton with red, yellow, green, white, and blue floral sprig and red dot print; below-knee...

Jumpsuit in all over printed harlequin pattern in shades of pink, purple, burgundy and coral

Jumpsuit in all over printed harlequin pattern in shades of pink, purple, burgundy and coral

Jumpsuit of silk and nylon, printed in harlequin pattern in shades of pink, purple, burgundy and coral;...

Cocktail dress in shocking pink foliate print on white slubbed silk broadcloth ground

Cocktail dress in shocking pink foliate print on white slubbed silk broadcloth ground

Cocktail dress in white slubbed silk broadcloth ground printed allover in shocking pink stylized foliate...

Day dress in floral printed, pleated Fortrel polyester

Day dress in floral printed, pleated Fortrel polyester

Day dress in pleated Fortrell polyester, sheer floral print in pink, orange, acid green and dark green;...

Suit comprising jacket and skirt in heather-toned pastel tweed with yellow blouse and purse

Suit comprising jacket and skirt in heather-toned pastel tweed with yellow blouse and purse

A: Jacket, heather-toned pastel novelty knit tweed in yellow, white, purple, green, orange, blue, turquoise...

Evening dress in black crinkle-texture vinyl on cotton and spandex ground

Evening dress in black crinkle-texture vinyl on cotton and spandex ground

Black crinkle-texture vinyl on cotton and spandex ground evening dress; A-line, full-length; scoop neckline;...

"Swirl" day dress and hat

"Swirl" day dress and hat

"Swirl" dress and hat in black and white crash linen boldly printed in swirls and arabesques. A: Slightly...

"Rose" dress

"Rose" dress

"Rose" dress in unbleached cream linen ground, printed with three oversized "American Beauty" roses on...

"Bullseye" day dress

"Bullseye" day dress

"Bullseye" day dress in black linen woven with horizontal stripes in gold, red and silver grey; shift;...

"Africa Speaks" caftan

"Africa Speaks" caftan

"Africa Speaks" caftan, red wool challis ground printed with royal blue, yellow, green, red and turquoise...

Day dress with Native American-inspired geometric motifs printed on silk pongee ground

Day dress with Native American-inspired geometric motifs printed on silk pongee ground

Day dress in off-white silk pongee ground printed with Native American-derived geometric motifs in black,...

Cocktail dress in purple and black flowered silk with belt

Cocktail dress in purple and black flowered silk with belt

Silk printed with purple flowers on black ground. A: Cocktail dress, off-the-shoulder neckline; sleeveless;...

Day dress in beige wool broadcloth with belt

Day dress in beige wool broadcloth with belt

Day dress and belt in beige wool broadcloth. A: Straight dress, cinched at natural waist; single-breasted;...

Swing coat in beige wool tweed

Swing coat in beige wool tweed

Beige wool tweed swing coat; below-knee length; choir-boy collar; double-breasted; bracelet-length wide...

Mask and three-part headpiece of black standing feathers and feather shafts

Mask and three-part headpiece of black standing feathers and feather shafts

A: Mask of black feathers with feathers and feather shafts standing up from the top of it. B-C: Headdress...

Evening dress and stole of black feathers on black organza

Evening dress and stole of black feathers on black organza

A: Evening dress of black organza covered with black ostrich feathers; A-line, lightly fitted bodice;...

Mask in white and black-dyed coq feathers in shape of intertwining swans

Mask in white and black-dyed coq feathers in shape of intertwining swans

Mask in white and black-dyed coq feathers, adhered to buckram, forming the shape of pair of intertwining...

Ball gown in white net with applied white ostrich feathers and pink roses

Ball gown in white net with applied white ostrich feathers and pink roses

"Coming-out" ball gown in white nylon net; full-length; boned bodice, rouched net on white silk taffeta...

Evening dress in black lace and black paillettes

Evening dress in black lace and black paillettes

Evening dress in black lace decorated with black sequins, on black silk underdress; fitted sheath; cut-away...

Halter neck evening dress with black paillettes

Halter neck evening dress with black paillettes

Evening dress in allover black paillettes on black silk ground; sheath; full-length; halter neckline...

Paper dress with black-and-white images of Governor Nelson Rockefeller on blue and yellow striped ground

Paper dress with black-and-white images of Governor Nelson Rockefeller on blue and yellow striped ground

Dress in paper with black-and-white images of Governor Nelson Rockefeller superimposed on blue and yellow...

Ensemble in printed cotton twill comprising beach jacket, bikini top and swimming trunks

Ensemble in printed cotton twill comprising beach jacket, bikini top and swimming trunks

Polished cotton twill printed in a diagonal abstract design of deep blue, aqua, and white with elephants....

Dress of cotton with white-on-red and red-on-white polka dots

Dress of cotton with white-on-red and red-on-white polka dots

Dress of cotton twill; fitted bodice of red cotton twill with white polka dots; "V" neckline; long bishop...

Evening dress in yellow Indian sari silk woven with gold

Evening dress in yellow Indian sari silk woven with gold

Evening dress in yellow Indian sari silk woven with gold, brocaded oval motif in silver and gold; straight,...

Ensemble comprising top, pants and skirt

Ensemble comprising top, pants and skirt

Evening ensemble of top and pants of white organdy with white pear applique and scallop embroidery, skirt...

Evening dress of blue paisley and gold striped woven chiffon, with belt

Evening dress of blue paisley and gold striped woven chiffon, with belt

A: Dress of blue paisley printed chiffon woven with horizontal stripes of gold flowers; straight, cinched...

Day ensemble of white silk twill with abstract floral pattern executed in irregularly shaped navy dots

Day ensemble of white silk twill with abstract floral pattern executed in irregularly shaped navy dots

Day ensemble of white silk twill with clusters of irregularly shaped navy dots. A: Straight, slightly...

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