Craftsmanship of Worth


Craftsmanship of Worth gown detail

Carol Mager, MS (Assistant Professor, Fashion Design and Merchandising), Veronica Wakefield (Fashion Design), Neve Palubicki (Fashion Design)

Come and see a recreation of Empress Euginie’s 1864 court gown, contemporary with the American Civil War, in person at the Library. This gown is twelve feet wide in circumference and supported by a steel cage crinoline. The display in the Dew Drop area of the library allows viewers to walk around the ensemble. This ensemble was originally created by Charles Fredrick Worth the father of Haute Couture fashion design and established the modern day business model of Haute Couture Houses. Using research through practice, the Summer Scholars team of Carol Mager, Veronica Wakefield, and Neve Palubicki researched sustainable design thinking by drafting patterns, fitting toiles, and constructing the final ensemble. The team heavily relied on the library to reference historical fashion texts, patterning books, museum exhibition catalogs, and even reached out to the MET which houses the original garment. They explored three key concepts of sustainable design thinking: high quality of construction and material, versatility of wear, and zero-waste design. We choose to focus on Charles Worth as the originator of Haute Couture to evaluate his sustainability techniques that would’ve been used at the dawn of Haute Couture. We believe  incorporating these sustainable design practices will not only make design more sustainable but also higher quality, as it reflects traditional Haute Couture Methods.

The Exhibition runs through March 14, 2024 in the Dew Drop area of the Library.