Janet Albert, Professor, Fashion Merchandising
ALL, ROOM 22C
I developed a love of costume history and a fascination with how vintage-costume design impacts the modern era during my graduate studies. Now I’m privileged to teach costume history at UB. Since I spend a lot of time with my students in my classroom and office, I’ve surrounded the rooms with a collection of historical costumes that I’ve displayed on mannequins.
I developed the collection through my association with the Fairfield Museum, where I’ve visited many times with my students. Occasionally, the museum received extra costumes that were over-subscribed, and they generously gave them to me.
I have a few pieces from the early 1900s. The workmanship on them is incredible:
the buttons, fabric was cut on the bias to drape the body. I have a cape from 1900. At that time sleeve design was primitive, so to keep warm, people used a cape and slipped their arms through. There’s a brown wedding dress. Brides didn’t necessarily wear white. They usually wore a festive dress that could be used for other occasions. They were more practical then. Now some brides may have two dresses: one for the ceremony and one to dance in afterwards.
I also have two pieces from the 1930s that I inherited from my mother-in-law. One was her bridal gown and the other was the dress she wore when she met my father-in-law at a dance. These dresses reflect the high style of glamour and the beautiful satin fabrics used at that time. I’ve displayed it with a picture from a Ralph Lauren collection. It shows how designs of the past have been adapted by designers today.