Arts Campus News Society & Culture

Georgia Museum of Art to exhibit noted collection of haute couture

Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will host the exhibition “Fashion Independent: The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor” June 1 to Sept. 14. Organized by Dennita Sewell, curator of fashion design at Phoenix Art Museum, the exhibition will feature the couture collection of Ann Bonfoey Taylor (1910-2007), an American tastemaker, and is the first major exhibition of fashion at GMOA.

Taylor’s impressive collection features works by some of the most masterful fashion designers of the 1950s and 1960s, including Balenciaga, Givenchy, Madame Grès, Charles James and Fortuny. Her wardrobe emphasizes minimalistic designs with a neutral color palette of grays and blacks.

“Taylor knew with assurance what colors she looked best in, what shapes flattered her figure and what designs would portray her as classic yet individual and stylish,” said Sewell in the exhibition catalogue.

Taylor was an accomplished pilot, sportswoman and skiwear designer and was featured in such magazines as Harper’s Bazaar, Town and Country and Vogue from the 1930s to the 1970s. She began purchasing couture in the 1950s, traveling to New York and Paris to meet fashion designers, with whom she formed relationships and collaborated on her comfortable and stylish wardrobe.

The exhibition includes eveningwear, daywear, formal and informal sportswear (including Taylor’s own skiwear designs) as well as accessories, comprising 60 ensembles. The collection also features large-scale photographs by fashion photographer Toni Frissell and a short documentary film by David Boatman.

Mary Koon, in-house curator for the exhibition, said, “We are thrilled to bring this major exhibition of fashion to Georgia. It will likely draw audiences from across the state, particularly from Atlanta and Savannah, both home to Savannah College of Art and Design, which offers one of the largest and most comprehensive fashion design programs in the country.”

Taylor’s wardrobe was donated to PAM in 2008 by Taylor’s widower, Vernon Taylor Jr., and her family, of Denver, Colo. Art and Antiques magazine selected the donation as one of the top 100 museum gifts of 2008. PAM began collecting fashion designs in the 1960s and currently has more than 6,000 pieces in its collection, ranging in date from the late 17th century to the present.

Events held in conjunction with the exhibition include 90 Carlton: Summer, an opening reception, on June 13 from 6 to 9 p.m.; Museum Mix, a late-night art party on Aug. 22 from 8 p.m. to midnight; a Family Day related to fashion and dress up (date to be determined); and a fashion film series, which will include a screening of “Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution” (dates to be determined).

Museum Information
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The council is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton St., University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-6719. For more information, including hours, see or call 706/542-GMOA (4662).