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Contact: Paul C. DiNero
E-mail: dinerop@kean.edu

Hemlines, Necklines and Everything in Between
Liberty Hall Museum Presents the Fashions of History

UNION, NJ - Elegant gowns, glittering accessories and refined evening attire: It sounds like the making of an absolutely fabulous fashion show. And fabulous it will be! These gowns, shoes, accessories and evening attire are genuine historical artifacts representing styles and taste from three centuries of American life.

On the night of September 29, Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University will present a blockbuster exhibit, entitled Stitches in Time: Three Centuries of Hemlines, Necklines and Everything in Between. The exhibit will feature an array of fashion from Liberty Hall Museum’s vast collection of material culture from the late 18th century to the mid 20th century.

The historical pieces on display will include a rare 1790s bicorn hat, an 1890s gown designed by Charles Worth, the father of haute couture, two early examples of Christian Dior gowns from the early 1950s, historic christening gowns, a groom’s wedding jacket from the 1840s, a squire’s costume worn by Julian Kean to the famous Vanderbilt Fancy Dress Ball of 1883, lady’s slippers from 1780, several Louis Vuitton trunks purchased in Paris with receipts signed by Louis Vuitton and dressing sets made by Tiffany. The Museum will also feature a special selection of vintage undergarments in a display called “Victorian Secrets.”

At the invitation-only opening night reception on Wednesday, September 29, guests will be treated to a dazzling display of reproduction gowns and menswear created from the Liberty Hall collection and modeled by Liberty Hall Museum staff and volunteers. The Stitches in Time exhibit will be open to the public on Thursday, September 30 and run through June 2011.

Stitches in Time already has won notice in the fashion and design community. Designer Mark Salinas, whose work has been featured in shows across the country, has agreed to design a reproduction gown that will be showcased during the special historic fashion show at the opening-night reception on September 29. The graceful late-Victorian ball gown will remain a highlight for the yearlong exhibit. Salinas has done work for fashion icon Zac Posen, whose repertoire includes designs for the 2008 blockbuster movie Sex and the City.

Speaking of the Liberty Hall Museum collection, Salinas said, “It’s a costume and apparel designer’s dream to study these garments and pay tribute to the rich history of a cultural movement.”

Shekima Baffour, a student at the Parsons School of Design, and Andrea do Canto, a Brazilian designer, also will contribute reproduction gowns for the opening reception fashion show. “This exhibit showcases a medium of art that is most revealing about the lives of past generations,” said Baffour.

For the first time, portions of the Museum’s interpreted rooms will be incorporated into the exhibit, according to William Schroh Jr., director of Museum Operations at Liberty Hall. Visitors will move from room to room to observe displays of fashion set in rooms that reflect the objects’ time period. In addition, Schroh said, the Museum is planning a series of lectures and other public programs to complement the exhibit.

“We are delighted to present this glamorous and elegant exhibit to New Jersey,” said Kean University President Dr. Dawood Farahi. “This show represents another step forward in the ongoing collaboration between Kean University and one of America’s great historic treasures, Liberty Hall Museum.” Kean University acquired Liberty Hall Museum, home of New Jersey’s first Governor, William Livingston, and several generations of the Kean family, in 2007.

Liberty Hall is located at 1003 Morris Avenue in Union, New Jersey. It is open to the public Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about the exhibit, call (908) 527-0400, e-mail libertyhall@kean.edu or visit www.kean.edu/libertyhall.