Clare Sauro is director of the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection (FHCC). She joined Drexel University in 2008 and has over 20 years' experience working in the field of historic costume and museums.
As director of the FHCC, she has mounted several notable exhibitions including Brave New World: Fashion & Freedom, 1911-1919 (2011), Immortal Beauty: Highlights from the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection (2015), Philadelphia in Style: A Century of Fashion from the Robert & Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection (2016) at the James A. Michener Art Museum, and James Galanos: Design Integrity (2018).
Heralded as a “world-class collection of fashion and textiles” by The Wall Street Journal, the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection at Drexel University (FHCC) is a museum-quality collection of more than 20,000 garments, textiles, and related materials. The FHCC’s role as a historic costume collection within an R1 research university allows for an interdisciplinary approach not always possible in a traditional museum of art or history.
Learn more about the Fox Historic Costume Collection here.
In addition to her role as director of the Fox Historic Costume Collection, Sauro teaches courses in the history of fashion. Her current research includes fashion from 1910 to 1939, Philadelphia retailer Nan Duskin, cellophane textiles, and Hollywood costume designer Bernard Newman. Sauro is a frequent lecturer on the history of fashion and is regularly interviewed and consulted by journalists and scholars on topics ranging from red carpet fashion to the history of pajamas.
MA, Museum Studies: Costume & Textiles, Fashion Institute of Technology
BA, English with a Minor in Medieval & Renaissance Studies, State University of New York, College at Oswego
- James Galanos: Design Integrity exhibition catalogue. October 2018.
- “Fashion”, Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. https://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/fashion/. May 2017.
- Immortal Beauty: Highlights from the Robert & Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection. October 2015.
- A Legacy of Art, Science & Industry: Highlights from the Collections, Drexel University exhibition catalogue. April 2013.
- Brave New World: Fashion & Freedom, 1911-1919 exhibition catalogue. March 2011.
- Cocktail Couture exhibition catalogue. “Hollywood Comes of Age: Cocktail Culture on the Silver Screen, 1920-1940.” March 2011.
- “Digitized Historic Costume Collections: Inspiring the Future while Preserving the Past”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Volume 60, number 9, 2009.
- Rest Your Feet exhibition catalogue. “Great Strides: Footwear Design after 1950.” October 2008.
- Oxford Art Online. Entries: “Andre Perugia”, and “Salvatore Ferragamo.” October 2008.
I am committed to using objects to tell stories, make connections across disciplines, and reach new audiences. My personal research focuses on fashion during the first half of the 20th century with an emphasis on the development of ready-to-wear and specialty retailers.
Funded Research Projects:
PI: Style, Science, and Semiotics (biennial exhibition and symposium)- Nancy and Donald Weinberg Fund, 2021- present
PI: Venus & Diana: Fashioning the Jazz Age (exhibition) Richard C. von Hess Foundation, The Dolfinger McMahon Foundation, 2019-2021
PI: “Valuable for Exploitation: Bernard Newman’s Cinema Fashions” (presentation/publication research): Westphal Faculty Grant: 2019-2021
PI: James Galanos: Design Integrity (exhibition/publication) Richard C. von Hess Foundation, The Coby Foundation, Iris Cantor, Westphal Faculty Grant, 2017-2018
PI: “A Season of Cellophane Everywhere: Cellophane Fashions, 1934-1936” (presentation/publication research): Drexel University Faculty Research Award: 2017
PI: Immortal Beauty: Highlights of the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection (exhibition/publication/symposium), Richard C. von Hess Foundation 2014-2015
PI: Brave New World: Fashion & Freedom, 1911-1919 (exhibition), PIFA, 2010-2011
PI: “How to Catalogue a Franco-American Dress?” (presentation), Westphal Faculty Grant. 2009
A DECADE OF RENEWAL, 2008-2018
The Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection Gallery
The Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection Gallery opened in September 2018. The exhibitions mounted in the FHCC Gallery have included A Decade of Renewal: 2008-2018 (fall 2018); Philadelphia Store-y: 25 Years of Nicole Miller Philadelphia (spring 2019); and Suit Yourself! 75 Years of Powerful Style (fall 2019).
JAMES GALANOS: DESIGN INTEGRITY
James Galanos: Design Integrity
James Galanos: Design Integrity, mounted in the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery in October 2018, was a celebration of the transformative gift of over 750 garments and related materials from the personal collection of Philadelphia-born designer James Galanos.
PHILADELPHIA IN STYLE: A CENTURY OF FASHION FROM THE ROBERT AND PENNY FOX HISTORIC COSTUME COLLECTION
Philadelphia in Style: A Century of Fashion from the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection
Philadelphia in Style: A Century of Fashion from the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection was mounted in collaboration with the James A. Michener Art Museum in March 2016.
IMMORTAL BEAUTY: HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ROBERT AND PENNY FOX HISTORIC COSTUME COLLECTION
Immortal Beauty: Highlights of the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection
The first large-scale retrospective exhibition of the FHCC, Immortal Beauty: Highlights of the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection, opened in the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery in October 2015.
“Fashion History is Public History in Philadelphia”, a joint project of the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection and Temple University’s Center for Public History and the research of graduate students enrolled in Studies of American Culture at Temple University (2019).
“We Wear Culture: The Stories Behind What We Wear”, a collaborative initiative by Google Arts and Culture. The Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection was an invited partner, one of only three University collections from the United States invited to participate in the project (2017).