The Garren Collection

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Copyright: The Garren Collection 1930s Pale Green Dress

This collection, housed in the Department of Drama's Costume Department, is one of the greatest resources we have for the education and training of costume designers and technologists. After years of service to both the academic and the production programs, The Collection was officially established in March of 1999 in an attempt to preserve the collection for future generations of costume students and historians. The collection is dedicated to Lois Garren who, as faculty designer in the early 1970s, began selecting garments donated to the costume department to be preserved for study rather than being used onstage in production.
Over the years The Collection has grown to over 1000 pieces, our oldest a man's woolen coat and breeches dating back to 1795. Among these are several 1830s Romantic dresses and bodices, a complete silk 1860s Crinoline gown with cotton eyelet bishop sleeves, a slave dress (most likely from this region), several 1880s Bustle gowns, an extensive collection of 1900 Edwardian laces, a wool "Suffragette" suit c. 1915, "utility" dresses from WWII, men's wear from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and a number of garments from Asia, China and Japan. Additionally, there are numerous day and evening gowns from the 1910s through the 1960s as well as designer fashions of Fortuny, Poiret, Dior, and Bill Blass. One of our most exquisite gowns by Fortuny is on permanent loan to The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.