SILHOUETTES OF STYLE: FASHIONS FROM THE MARTHA MCCASKEY SELHORST COLLECTION
Higbee Gallery | Anne Bissonnette, Curator
When the Kent State University Museum opened its "Victoriana" exhibition in January 1988, it was enhanced by loans from Martha McCaskey Selhorst - six bonnets, six parasols, a carpetbag and a paisley shawl. The Selhorst Collection was well known in the Cleveland area through the entrancing and entertaining shows of period fashions created by Marty Selhorst.
Begun during the 1970s fashion for wearing vintage clothes, the collection grew, and grew, and grew to encompass 150 years of fashion history and a thousand pieces. Marty's eye for period fashions sought out exquisite, pristine examples wherever she traveled, and some of the pieces were purchased in London and Paris. The collection was particularly known for the Victorian and Edwardian lingerie dresses made of wonderful assemblages of white laces, its jazzy "flapper" dresses from the 1920s and its slinky bias cut fashions from the 1930s. Less well known, but of great significance to the Kent State University Museum's holdings, were a group of cotton day dresses from the 1860s and two exceptional costumes for fancy dress balls, also from the nineteenth century.
From the moment the collection entered the Museum parts of it have been on exhibition. Many of Marty's extensive group of Pucci designs were in the 1996-97 "Pucci!" exhibition, her paisleys part of "Wrapped in Splendor, the Art of the Paisley Shawl", and one of the cotton day dresses in "Fashioning Fashion". "Silhouettes of Style" marks the Museum's first rotation of selected costumes from the Selhorst Collection, and officially welcomes the collection to the University. We are most grateful to Martha Selhorst for her keen eye, the extraordinary care she gave the collection, and her generosity in donating it to the Kent State University Museum.