Venus on the Road

One of the highlights of our collection is “Venus” from Christian Dior’s 1949-50 Fall/Winter collection. The Museum at FIT recently requested to borrow her for their latest exhibition “Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color.” In deciding to lend pieces for exhibition we have to weigh the stress that traveling puts on the object against the value of the piece reaching a wide audience and contributing to the success of a fellow museum’s curatorial agenda. We try whenever we it is feasible to lend our pieces to other museums. Not only are we helping other museums we are enabling as many people as possible to benefit from seeing our pieces.

We have a couple of pictures taken when the dress was being packed to be shipped. “Venus” has a lot of volume and is stored on a dress form so she is never flattened. You can see that as she is laid out on a table to be wrapped in Tyvek and put in the box that she is still extremely dimensional. The bodice was stuffed with a pillow and her skirts were filled out with a couple of petticoats even when she was laid “flat.”

We also have pictures of “Venus” installed in the exhibition. Isn’t she stunning?! Don’t miss the chance to see her if you are in New York. The exhibition will be on view through February 5, 2019!

Sara Hume
Curator/Associate Professor

2 thoughts on “Venus on the Road

  1. Are there any photographs of “Venus” being actively worn? Was this piece ever owned or is it a runway show stopper?
    What shoes, purse, hat would have finished this look?
    Is this original color or has the fabric changed?
    Would the woman who wore this dress have also worn seamed stockings?

    What would this beautiful dress have cost ?

    I think the back story on this piece would add even more to its allure

    How did the museum get the garment?

    BTW, I lived in Engleman room 9 when I studied at KSU. (1975)

    • We don’t have the answers to all of your questions, however, the records for this dress indicate that it was originally owned by Marlene Dietrich. There are other copies of the dress in other collections but this one is different because it has the straps rather than being completely strapless. The dress came to the Museum’s collection as part of the founding gift from Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman. They were collectors of historic fashion and donated their collection of 4000 costumes and textiles to the museum in the early 80s.

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