UNT’s ‘Delight’ Exhibition Celebrates Designs From Its Texas Fashion Collection » Dallas Innovates

The University of North Texas is celebrating its collection of fashion artifacts with “Delight: Selections from the Texas Fashion Collection.” The exhibition, which celebrates “curiosity, wonder, joy, and whimsy,” runs through May 21 in the CVAD Gallery in Room 160 of the UNT Art Building in Denton, and is free and open to the public.

“Delight” includes more than 35 garments and accessories representing the breadth of UNT’s fashion collection. It features designers such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy, Patrick Kelly, Hanae Mori, Lilly Pulitzer, and Vera Wang. Designers with a Texas connection include UNT alum Michael Faircloth, Texan Todd Oldham, and Page Boy Maternity, a Dallas fashion label that revolutionized maternity clothes for women in the late 1930s.

‘From haute couture to homemade’

“This exhibition offers a holistic look at our unique, world-class holdings,” said Annette Becker, Texas Fashion Collection curator and director, in a statement. “From haute couture to homemade, these designs inspire joy, curiosity, and wonder—all personal and emotional reactions that lead us to think more deeply about fashion’s cultural meaning and importance.”

“The piece in the exhibition that sparks the most delight in me is a tiara made of chicken wire and glitter created by an unknown maker in the 1930s,” she said. “The materials used in this accessory spark a sense of joy at seeing a material from my childhood on a farm represented in a high-fashion context. That joy has encouraged me to think more deeply about creative reuse, materiality, and the role accessories play in self-expression—all topics I might not have considered in the same ways if not for the delight this piece created.”

UNT’s Texas Fashion Collection is housed in the College of Visual Arts and Design. It features nearly 20,000 historic and designers’ pieces typically only available to academic researchers. The collection has garments and accessories from noted designers and the personal design archives of Victor Costa, Oldham, and Faircloth.

The exhibit was inspired by Ross Gay’s “The Book of Delights,” a New York Times best-selling essay collection. The exhibition’s title is an encouragement for visitors to think about each artifact and celebrate its distinctive story.

GALLERY

Here’s a sampling of designer pieces from the collection.

Designer Patrick Kelly’s pinstripe skirt suit with novelty dice print and buttons. [Photo: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design]

UNT alum Michael Faircloth’s floor-length, sleeveless evening dress of shiny gold silk and a bodice with white silk embroidered with scrolling motifs in gold thread. [Photo: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design]

Designer Jamie Okuma’s art-to-wear ensemble of digitally printed polyester/spandex blend with scarf of digitally printed silk [Image: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design]

Designer Vera Wang’s floor-length, strapless, black evening dress with a fitted bodice and voluminous skirt made of layers of netting. [Image: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design]


Special events

The school is hosting events around the exhibit, per UNT:

  • Event reception: March 24, 5-7 pm, UNT Art Building Courtyard and CVAD Galleries; welcoming UNT and community members with gallery viewing and refreshments; free and open to the public.
  • Family Day: March 26, noon-4 pm, UNT Art Building Courtyard and CVAD Galleries, collaboration with the UNT Alumni Association; art-making activities and exhibition tours in English and Spanish; Registration required, open to the public.
  • “Speed ​​Dating” for UNT OLLI Members: April 22, 12-1:30 pm, UNT CVAD Galleries; in collaboration with the UNT Osher Lifelong Learning Institute; OLLI members will circulate around the gallery to hear short research presentations on exhibition artifacts; OLLI registration required.

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