Alum Maegan Jenkins Curates Fashion Exhibition with White House Historical Association

A mannequin dressed in a purple velvet dress stands in front of a gray and white background. The dress has white satin piping, mother of pearl buttons, and an intricate, lace collar.

First Lady Mary Lincoln’s Purple Velvet Dress, designed and created by Elizabeth Keckly (1818-1907). Image courtesy of the White House Historical Association.

First Lady Mary Lincoln’s Purple Velvet Dress, designed and created by Elizabeth Keckly (1818-1907). Image courtesy of the White House Historical Association.

Alum Maegan Jenkins (BFA 2012) has debuted her curatorial project [15], a digital fashion exhibition created with the White House Historical Association that explores 100 years of First Lady fashion history: Glamour and Innovation: The Women Behind the Seams of Fashion at the White House [15]. The exhibition highlights eight lesser-known seamstresses and dressmakers who, by styling the White House’s First Ladies, have influenced American fashion. Jenkins curated Glamour and Innovation as the Association's first Digital Exhibit Fellow. The digital exhibit features archival photography, portraits, biographies, press clippings, and interactive photos of various designs. Since its debut, the exhibition has been spotlighted by many publications, including Vogue Italy [16] and Women's Wear Daily [17]

“People are always interested in what the First Lady is wearing, and what kind of message it conveys,” Jenkins says on her motivations and inspirations behind Glamour and Innovation. “With this exhibit, I wanted to move beyond the major fashion houses to tell the lesser-known stories of the women behind some of those dresses and the incredible contributions they’ve made to American history.”

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