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Delight: Selections from the Texas Fashion Collection

University of North Texas Art Galleries

For a look at high fashion at its most fun, the exhibition “Delight: Selections from the Texas Fashion Collection” celebrates the curiosity, wonder, joy, and whimsy sparked by its collection’s unique artifacts. Opening on Jan. 18, 2022, the exhibition will be installed at the College of Visual Arts and Design Gallery in the University of North Texas Art Building.

Usually, only accessible to academic researchers, the TFC’s world-class holdings include nearly 20,000 historic and designer pieces. “Delight” presents a wide-ranging look at those materials, celebrating the everyday to the runway and the relatable to the fantastical.

“More than 35 unique examples of garments and accessories will be on exhibit to delight visitors. Experiencing delight and wearing clothing are both universal, but what sparks delight is deeply personal – much like how we dress ourselves,” said Annette Becker, TFC curator and director. Becker hopes to inspire visitors to think more deeply about how the spark of delight can awaken an appreciation for design, craft, innovation, artistic perspective, and culture.

The exhibit will include unexpected juxtapositions to cast famous designers’ work in new ways. A macabre and avant-garde sculptural black dress by Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons will be shown alongside a 1955 lace and silk taffeta evening gown by couturier Cristobal Balenciaga. A recently acquired dress by Vivienne Tam featuring satirical portraits of Chairman Mao will highlight the related pop-art qualities of a 1960s Page Boy Maternity maxi dress. Internationally famous designers such as Hubert de GivenchyPatrick KellyLilly PulitzerMichael Faircloth, and Hanae Mori will also be featured.

“The piece in the exhibition that sparks the most delight in me is a tiara made of chicken wire and glitter created by an unknown maker in the 1930s. The materials used in this accessory spark a sense of joy at seeing a material from my childhood on a farm represented in a high-fashion context. That joy has encouraged me to think more deeply about creative reuse, materiality, and the role accessories play in self-expression – all topics I might not have considered in the same ways if not for the delight this piece created.”

The exhibition programming will include an opening reception, a family day, a museum careers panel discussion for students, and a “speed dating” event to fall in love with items in the exhibition.

Exhibition Programming

  • Exhibition reception: March 24, 5-7 p.m., UNT Art Building Courtyard and CVAD Galleries; welcoming UNT and community members with gallery viewing and refreshments; free and open to the public.
  • Family Day: March 26, 12-4 p.m., UNT Art Building Courtyard and CVAD Galleries, collaboration with the UNT Alumni Association; art-making activities and exhibition programming in English and Spanish; registration required, open to the public.
  • “Speed Dating” for UNT OLLI Members: April 22, 12-1:30 p.m., UNT CVAD Galleries; in collaboration with the UNT Osher Lifelong Learning Institute; OLLI members will circulate around the gallery to hear short research presentations on exhibition artifacts; OLLI registration required.

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