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Explore Florals in Fashion at the Drexel Historic Costume Collection’s “Style Saturday” Event

The museum-quality collection of more than 12,000 garments and accessories dates back centuries

February 11, 2014

Fashion forecasters heralded the return of floral prints and motifs for spring 2014 – but did they ever really go away? From the rococo rose to the pop art daisy, floral motifs have been a perennial favorite.

On March 8, Drexel University’s Historic Costume Collection, a treasure trove of textiles and garments spanning more than 200 years, is once again opening its doors to the public with “In Bloom: The Fashion for Florals,” the next installment in a series of quarterly events which include an educational seminar on a particular aspect of fashion history and a specialized viewing of the collection.

The collection was previously open to the public by appointment only. The first event, held in Oct. 2013, explored the history of 1920’s fashion.

“In Bloom: The Fashion for Florals” will take place on Saturday, March 8 from 9:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the URBN Center (3501 Market St.).

Guests at the "Style Saturday" event will receive a specialized viewing of the collectionIt includes a presentation by the collection’s curator Clare Sauro, coffee and light refreshments and an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at examples of historic floral garments in the collection.

Tickets are $50, and can be purchased here or by calling 215-571-3504. Space is limited. All proceeds will benefit the Drexel Historic Costume Collection. For more information and registration details, visit

Housed in Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, the museum-quality collection of more than 12,000 garments and accessories dates back centuries, with holdings including garments worn by Greta Garbo, Babe Paley and Princess Grace of Monaco. 

It is one of the oldest teaching collections in the United States. The oldest documented objects are a man’s waistcoat dating from the 1750s and a group of 16th century velvets. The internationally recognized collection has lent objects to exhibitions in Paris and Milan.

The event will explore floral prints and motifs throughout fashion history According to a recent feature story on the collection in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Walking into the 3,000-square-foot space is like entering a chilly (the clothes need to be kept at 65 degrees), sterile science lab…Yet the moment Sauro opens one of the massive units filled with 256 years of dresses, cloaks, undergarments, hats, gloves, shoes, and purses, the space comes alive. It's a tweed, glitter-filled dream come true for vintage shoppers.”

University founder A.J. Drexel formed the Drexel Historic Costume Collection in the late 1890s to serve as an educational resource for the students. Through the remarkable generosity of donors, the collection has become one of the finest teaching collections in the United States. 

The mission of the Collection is to educate and inspire, while providing a significant resource for an ever-expanding community of historians, scholars, artists and designers. 

In January 2013, the collection was relocated into new facilities in the Westphal College’s new URBN Center, which has greatly improved the accessibility and visibility of the collection while preserving the collection for future generations of researchers and admirers.

Media Contact

Alex McKechnie