Chic Chicago

Couture Treasures from the Chicago History Musem

The Chicago History Museum

September 27, 2008, through July 26, 2009
"Chicago may be a man's town, but its history is emblazoned with the names of women—women whose spirit or charm or accomplishments lent an air of splendor to the sprawling lustiness of the city."
Norma Lee Browning, Chicago Tribune, 1948

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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