BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
The sky-high heels of Chicago-born shoe designer Brian Atwood attracted members of the Chicago History Museum’s Costume Council, always au courant from head to toe, to a sold-out spring luncheon that raised $30,000 for the museum. Citing clients Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Chastain, Atwood, who also designed Lady Gaga’s 30th birthday shoes, has said, “Six-inch heels aren’t just for 20 year olds.” Unsurprisingly, a raffle of Brian Atwood shoes brought the audience to their feet.
The former fashion model and the first American designer to be hired by Gianni Versace was delighted that his mother, Dusty Stemer, co-chaired the event with Costume Council members Toni Canada and Melissa Skoog.
Current President Courtney Hopkins joins the long line of discerning and dedicated Costume Council presidents, including Abra Wilkin, Lawrie Weed, Alison de Frise, Cynthia Hedlund, April Schink, Laura Barnett, Bonnie Deutsch, Noren Ungaretti, Nena Ivon, and Kristin Smith.
Through the support of the Costume Council, the Chicago History Museum has maintained a thriving costume collection and operated a conservation lab that manages and sustains this critical aspect of its holdings considered one of the finest and most extensive in the country.
Chicago dressmakers, milliners, and manufacturers have created many of the Museum’s artifacts. The costume holdings encompass a number of items worn by prominent Chicagoans and Americans, including personal items belonging to Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, Michael Jordan’s basketball uniform, and Mahalia Jackson’s choir robe. The earliest pieces include suits worn by George Washington and John Adams. The Museum’s extensive couture collection ranges from Charles Worth gowns to the innovative designs of Yohji Yamamoto.
For more about the Chicago History Museum and its magnificent costume collection, visit chicagohistory.org.
Photo credit: Mila Samokhina