The FIDM Museum & Galleries Foundation, Inc. provides students, researchers, designers, and the public with resources to examine the roles of historic fashion, accessories, textiles, jewelry, fragrance, and related ephemera in their relationship to society, history, art, and technology. The collections are sustained by standard museum practices for continual acquisition, preservation, and display. Educational, outreach, and volunteer programs support the scholarly interpretation of the collections.
FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising was founded in 1969 by current FIDM President Tonian Hohberg. Hohberg's vision was the creation of an exciting learning environment within which students could master art and design disciplines. Beginning with the first downtown Los Angeles campus, FIDM has grown to four campuses (Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco) and 20 majors. In 1973, the Fashion Design Department insisted that students studying clothing design would better understand textile drape, pattern structure, and finishing techniques if they had access to representative garments. Staff and faculty responded by raiding their personal closets to assemble the fledgling museum's first "collection." When formally established in 1978, the nonprofit FIDM Museum Foundation met with immediate enthusiasm. The initial holdings were enhanced by a generous gift of French haute couture ensembles from founding donor Betsy Bloomingdale.
As the years passed, the FIDM Museum grew along with the college. In 1985, the estate of Rudi Gernreich bequeathed the designer's extensive archive to the FIDM Museum. When a new Los Angeles campus was constructed in 1990, designated storage for the museum's 5,000 items was incorporated on the new campus. Community outreach, always important to the museum, attracted new donors, as did the rotating displays of collection objects on FIDM campuses. The FIDM Gallery opened in 1993, providing a permanent exhibition space for the growing collection. With the opening of the gallery, the museum began mounting exhibitions ranging from California sportswear to Hollywood costumes. In appreciation of the community's longstanding and generous support, exhibitions are always free to the public.
By 1997, the collection numbered over 10,000 items. During the 1990s, a curatorial department was established to oversee the museum's care and direction, the FIDM Gallery was expanded to 8,000 square feet, and the Museum Shop was opened. In 1998, the collection was divided into the research-oriented Permanent Collection and the hands-on Study Collection. In the intervening years, the museum began conversion of its hardcopy object records to a multifunctional database, constructed three state-of-the-art compact storage areas, and acquired the Annette Green Fragrance Archive. The Gianni Versace Menswear Archive is a recent standout acquisition, along with the Michel Arnaud Photography Archive. The caliber, connoisseurship, and interpretation of the museum collections have increased, expanding towards educational exhibitions, documentary productions, catalogue publications, and social media activities.
The FIDM Museum has attracted more than 1,000 donors over the past thirty-three years. These generous patrons contributed 70% of the current collections. Thanks to these donations, the collections currently number approximately 15,000 objects covering more than 200 years of history: 1800 to the present. Because the museum focuses on the strong design merits of high fashion, most of the collections are dedicated to fashionable women's dress, and acquisitions are determined primarily by how well an object represents its time period and a designer's oeuvre. Nonetheless, unknown dressmakers whose work survives through retail and department store labeled garments share archival storage space with major designers. Rounding out the collections are folk dress and non-Western garments, drawn from most major cultures and valued for their association with and inspiration for European and American fashion. Accessories are also a vital component, exhibited separately or used for head-to-toe mannequin dressing, helping to establish a complete understanding of how fashion is worn. Auxiliary ephemera such as periodicals, patterns, and photographs support the study of design by defining historical contexts. Additionally, interior textiles, swatch books, and embroidery samples complement the fashion holdings and ensure a rich understanding of related disciplines.
Capturing The Catwalk: Runway Photography From The Michel Arnaud Archive Capturing the Catwalk is the first exhibition to explore the pioneering photography of Michel Arnaud, whose work for Harper’s Bazaar and British Vogue spans the 1970s&nda…Read More »
Acquiring Beauty: FIDM Museum Fashion Council, Est. 2011 Established in 2011, the FIDM Museum Fashion Council has underwritten–or as they say, 'Adopted'–both individually and as a collective many rare and beautiful objects for our Perman…Read More »
Thierry Mugler: Alien to Angel explores the unconventional and otherworldly work of Parisian designer Thierry Mugler. The exhibition includes garments, sketches, runway photography, and perfume bottles, painting a holistic picture of this provocative…Read More »
The Art of Television Costume Design celebrates the new 'Golden Age' of TV programming. This annual exhibition includes a variety of Emmy Award - nominated shows exploring themes of digital research, fandoms, re - launches, and the fast - paced work …Read More »
25th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Fidm Museumâ€™s annual exhibition has become a tradition for LA locals and movie lovers alike. This year, we celebrate the exhibitionâ€™s 25th year of showcasing excellence in film costume design. Come…Read More »
Location, Location, Location! Exotic locations have long inspired fashion designers to re - imagine contemporary dress into hybrid silhouettes mixing East and West. Their creations evoke lands outside Western borders through unfamiliar motifs and pat…Read More »
Fixed, folded, or fontageâ€”fans have cooled the air, aided elegance of movement, and spoken a silent language for centuries. A Graceful Gift displays the fantastical ornamentation of these miniature artworks that hold our gaze and draw us in to look…Read More »
There were only about 10,000 television sets in the United States in the mid-1940s. Ten years later, half of American households owned one! Why the huge increase? Rising post-World War II income levels coupled with technological advancements meant ma…Read More »
Ego! It comes across loud and clear through a manâ€™s wardrobe. Boldness and confidence translate into strong silhouettes, dominant colors, and militant embellishment. Victorian aesthetes were impeccably tailored, showcasing mastery of sartorial conn…Read More »
Opulent Art: 18th-century Dress From The Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection Ladies and gentlemen living in 18th-century Europe dressed opulently. The designing, producing, and wearing of fashion was elevated to an art form. Luxurious silks, han…Read More »
Inspired Eye: The Donald And Joan Damask Design Collection Donald and Joan Damask have devoted their lives to creating and collecting outstanding design. Their professions have focused on luxury marketing and fashion design; a shared collecting visio…Read More »
Bound to Impress: Corsets from The Helen Larson Historic Fashion CollectionFor centuries, corsets contorted the female figure into the reigning ideal. Bound to Impress: Corsets from The Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection highlights these unnatu…Read More »
For the eighth year, this annual exhibition celebrates the art and artistry of Primetime EmmyÂ® Nominated Costume Designers and Costume Supervisors. Including costumes from a variety of television genres, the exhibition is organized by guest curator …Read More »
Yards of satin and faille, froths of lace and tulle, glimmers of beads and rhinestones: the stuff of dreams that clothed the female transition from maidenhood to matrimony. BLISS: 19th-Century Wedding Gowns from The Helen Larson Historic Fashion Coll…Read More »