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Last Chance to See "Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen" at Kent State University Museum

Posted Aug. 22, 2011
Katharine Hepburn Exhibit
The acclaimed exhibit "Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for
Stage and Screen" at the Kent State University Museum
will close Sept. 4. Pictured are Jean Druesedow, director
of the Kent State University Museum and curator of the
exhibit, with John Crawford, dean of the College of the Arts.

The acclaimed exhibit "Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen" at the Kent State University Museum showcases the screen legend's performance clothes, which include stage and film costumes spanning Miss Hepburn's career, as well as apparel she wore for publicity purposes. Only two weeks remain to see the acclaimed exhibit. The exhibit, which opened last October, closes on Sept. 4.

Katharine Hepburn is universally recognized among the greatest actresses of all time. She was nominated by the Motion Picture Academy a record 12 times in the best leading actress category and won four Oscars - for “Morning Glory” (1933), “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner” (1967), “The Lion in Winter” (1968), and “On Golden Pond” (1981). This record has never been equaled.

"Katharine Hepburn has had a profound impact on American popular culture and fashion, and has influenced generations of women," says Jean Druesedow, director of the Kent State Museum and curator of the exhibit.

"On screen and off, she epitomized the modern American woman – smart, independent, active, honest, feisty, and outspoken,” says Druesedow. “In terms of fashion, Katharine Hepburn blazed trails by popularizing slacks for women, wearing or adapting men's suits as women's apparel, and helping internationalize what is now called 'The American Style.'"

The museum acquired Miss Hepburn's performance clothes in 2008 from the star's estate. Before her death in 2003, she had made clear her collection of performance clothes should be given to an educational institution instead of being sold at auction. The Kent State University Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums, and is known internationally for its costume and fashion collections. The result was a perfect fit.

"Katharine Hepburn's costumes were designed or overseen by some of the greatest 20th century designers for fashion, stage and film," says Druesedow. "Valentina, Adrian, Irene, Muriel King, Cecil Beaton, Coco Chanel, Walter Plunkett, Edith Head, Patricia Zipprodt, Jane Greenwood, Noel Taylor - it's an 'A' List all the way."

Though the collections' ownership is indisputable - they were literally hanging in Katharine Hepburn's closets - the museum had to correctly identify which movie or play the garments came from since they were untagged. Movie frames, stage stills and publicity shots of Miss Hepburn helped immensely and are displayed alongside the costumes.

As the title of the exhibition suggests, the costumes are presented according to genre, with "screen" including film and television. A series of Miss Hepburn's iconic beige trousers, linen vests and tailored jackets will be placed as guideposts through the exhibit.

For more information, call 339-672-3450, visit www.kent.edu/museum or go to the Kent State University Museum Facebook page.