Exhibition: Chic Chicago

Chic Chicago: Couture Treasures from the Chicago History Museum
September 27, 2008, through July 26, 2009

From its inception, Chicago was cast as a crude and grimy upstart, a place of blood and smoke, congestion and pollution. Chicago’s negative reputations—Hog Butcher for the World, Gangland, Second City—persist today, captured in popular culture.

Eager to overcome this gritty reputation, generations of Chicago women turned to the glamour of couture. Fashion, they believed, was the most dramatic way to prove Chicago’s beauty and sophistication.

Chic Chicago presents the hallmarks of modern fashion. The exhibition’s extraordinary garments date from 1861 to 2004 and represent the most prominent couturiers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Each gown has a strong connection to Chicago and belongs to the Museum’s permanent collection.

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