The Fashion Study Collection serves to enhance the learning experience of fashion design students and serious researchers by collecting objects pertaining to all aspects of dress in order to study, display and preserve the history, manufacture and craftsmanship of clothing, adornment, and textile production.
The collection numbers thousands of pieces, including couture, ready-to-wear, children’s wear, menswear, accessories, paper patterns and textile designs. Additionally, costumes from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, are housed in the archive. It is intended to provide a hands-on experience for Fashion Design students in which they can select objects to study based on construction techniques, designer attribution or chronology. Examples include eighteenth-century textiles, footwear, couture beading samples, and knitwear. Pieces from the collection have also been lent to prestigious museums across the country for exhibition.
Founded in 1978, the Woodbury University Fashion Study Collection was the brainchild of former department Chair, Dr. Rosalie Utterbach. It had been a vision of hers for years, to be used as a device to show “hands-on” examples in her History of Costume class. When a fortuitous donation arrived from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, in the 1970s, her dream was on its way to materialization. In 1984 Professor Utterbach organized the first exhibition titled, One Hundred Years of Fashion. It featured a gown dating from 1884, the founding year of Woodbury College. She curated two further exhibitions in 1990 and 1991 on the subject of women’s aprons and men’s neckties. Over the years, the collection has been honed and built upon to serve the students of the Fashion Design Program and the public at large. It boasts film costumes from such luminaries as Edith Head and Adrian. Indeed, Hollywood designers have long been associated with Woodbury: Howard Greer was instrumental in creating the first professional costume design training offered by Woodbury in 1931, and William Travilla, famous for his Marilyn Monroe designs, was a Woodbury graduate. Notable fashion designers represented include Bonnie Cashin, Andre Courreges, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Mariano Fortuny, James Galanos, Jean Paul Gaultier, Rudi Gernreich, Issey Miyake, Norman Norell, Yves Saint Laurent, Arnold Scaasi, Elsa Schiaparelli and Yohji Yamamoto.