Stitched: Regional Dress Across Europe
Drawing from the rich collection of Kent State University Museum, this exhibition showcases common features shared by regional costume across Europe. In its original context in villages, regional dress carefully marked social and cultural differences. Religious affiliation, gender, age, and marital status were all instantly recognizable at a glance by members of the community. A person’s outfit signaled which village or region they came from. Focusing on these signs of difference obscures the common vocabulary that rural residents across Europe used to shape their clothing. By organizing the pieces on display according to shared features, this exhibition highlights the commonalities across the continent rather than their differences. The pieces on view span Western and Eastern Europe including examples from Norway, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Romania and Albania. The development of elaborate regional dress was not a result of the isolation of their wearers but a signal of their integration into broader European society.
Banner image: Detail of Romanian ensemble from Transylvania (KSUM 1987.15.17 a-e); Detail of Norwegian ensemble (KSUM 1990.83.9 a-d); Czech bonnet of silk brocade with silver lace (KSUM 1984.2.87); Ensemble from Southern Moravia in Slovakia (KSUM 1995.17.574 a-e); Oscar de la Renta, ensemble inspired by folk costume (KSUM 1993.81.12 a-c).