Sunday, April 2, 6 p.m.
Presented by the Figge Art Museum
Held in conjunction with the Figge Art Museum's popular exhibit Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960, noted dress Historian Nicole Rudolph, on April 1, will engage in the first of a two-part overview on the seismic shifts that transformed women’s clothing between 1800 and 1960, with an emphasis on developments in women’s athletic wear.
Rudolph is a full-time fashion history content creator on YouTube, where she focuses on bringing her expertise in historic shoemaking, sewing, and tailoring to a broad, international audience. She has a MFA in Material Culture from University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a BFA in Costume Design from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Before her career on YouTube took off, she worked for several years at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and as the Artistic Director and Designer of American Duchess Shoes. During this time, she has also had the opportunity to work with institutions such as the Museum of the American Revolution to reconstruct historic garments and textile goods for exhibits and experiments that provide insight to how these objects would have been made, used, and worn out. In her virtual April 2 presentation, Rudolph will focus on existing garments and what they can tell us about the social and political changes that were taking place during the exhibit's dynamic period in history.
The first exhibition to ever explore the evolution of its particular attire in Western fashion over this 160-year period, Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 highlights ensembles worn by women active in the sporting world from the turn of the 19th century to the mid-20th century. Examining the competing priorities of style, function, and propriety, the touring exhibit (organized by the American Federation of Arts and the FIDM Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles) reconstructs a material history of women in sport through the garments and accessories that enabled them to compete and excel. Sporting Fashion features fully accessorized ensembles and a selection of sport-related accessories and ephemera drawn from the exceptional collections of the FIDM Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Exhibiting 19th-century bathing and bicycling garments alongside 20th-century apparel for boxing and aviation, the exhibition displays the modernity, individuality, and mobility of the "new woman" and demonstrates the continued fight for equality.
Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 is organized into eight themes, each exploring how clothing met the needs of new pursuits for women: Stepping Outdoors; Further Afield; Taking the Reins; Making Waves; Subzero Style; Wheels and Wings; Having a Ball; and A Team Effort. The exhibition includes ensembles for activities ranging from yachting to calisthenics, and from motorcycling to promenading. To complement the artifacts on view, a timeline of key events and biographies of sixteen important sportswomen further situates sporting fashion in the broader context of women’s social history.
The virtual historian talk with Nicole Rudolph will take place over two nights, with the first viewable at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, and the second at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 16. Participation in the events is free, Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 itself will be on display through May 14, and more information and Zoom links are available by calling (563)326-7804 and visiting FiggeArtMuseum.org.