An ad for Anne Fogarty, one of the many American woman designers featured in the Women Fashioning Women exhibition. Photo courtesy of LSU Textile & Costume Museum.

The LSU Textile & Costume Museum’s Women Fashioning Women exhibition

On October 1, the LSU Textile & Costume Museum had an opening reception for the new “Women Fashioning Women” exhibition. Dr. Michael Mamp, the museum’s director and curator of the exhibition, is a firm believer that female designers and their legacy of work are a crucial part of the complex history of fashion.

“A lot of the women we’re showcasing in the exhibit are unknown to many, although women are undeniably the main contributors and supporters of the fashion industry,” he says. “They were incredibly impactful, but somehow left out of history. Today, it’s a way to preserve their stories.”

When curating the exhibit, Mamp chose from thousands of pieces at the Valentine Museum. “We were the recipient of an incredible donation from them, and in the end, we chose around 450 pieces,” he says. “While looking through their vast collection, we found a common theme of women designers and their hidden histories.”

The pieces included in the exhibition date from 1905 to the present year, covering over 100 years. And, while all of the pieces are eye-catching, the two items from 2023 may look a little more familiar to viewers. Designed by Baton Rouge-based designer Martha Gottwald of Neubyrne, the two jackets worn by LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey during the recent championship season were a last-minute addition to the exhibition.

“We had an incredible turnout at the opening, and it was great to see so many people wanting to learn about these designers and their past,” Mamp says.

The exhibit will run until March 28, 2024, and it is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.

Scroll below to see images from the opening, and visit the museum on LSU’s campus to expand your knowledge of women fashion designers.