Fashion exhibit

From a bejeweled, sky-blue silk gown to a denim jacket adorned with applique butterflies, historical Nebraska fashion is on display on the second floor of The Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus.

The exhibit, “State of Fashion I,” will be at the gallery from Feb. 15 to April 1. The exhibit showcases the styles of Mary Ann Vaccaro, an Omaha-based designer and consultant to Carlisle and Per Se New York, and the late Lincoln dressmaker IIona Berk. It also includes the wardrobes of former Nebraska Governor Kay A. Orr and Avery Woods, a former board member at the Woods Charitable Fund.

From a crimson, velvet blouson dress from the 1920s to modern day dresses, from floral and expressionistic patterns, the exhibit depicts the evolution of fashion through the decades and briefly explains what inspired the designers of each era.

“Students are able to see Nebraska dressmakers, and they’re able to see that they’re able to make a living designing and creating fashion,” said Barbara Trout, exhibition curator and professor emeritus of textiles, merchandising and fashion design. “We are giving (visitors) the chance to see the designs of major designers. You’re seeing groups of clothing that relate to each other, telling the fashion evolution through 80 years.”

The dresses are not limited to those of Nebraska designers. The gallery is also displaying designs from Italy, New York and California. But each dress belonged to a Nebraskan and helped influence fashion within Nebraska.

This is the first of many such events planned for the upcoming years, according to Molly McPherson, a graduate human sciences student.

McPherson said UNL’s collection is vast, spanning more than 100 years of fashion from around the world.

Design students use the collection in various ways, mainly drawing on it for inspiration, McPherson said.

The gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Three events corresponding with the exhibit are planned: “Design that Lasts,” a lecture by Trout, at noon Feb. 26 and gallery talks on March 4 and March 25.