The Cincinnati Art Museum has been collecting fashion and textiles since its founding in 1881. Holdings of approximately 15,000 objects span centuries and encompass the work of renowned French couturiers, pioneering American fashion designers, dress, textiles and dolls from around the world.
The Fashion Arts and Textiles collection is broad-ranging including women’s, men’s and children’s dress and accessories from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Highlights include fashionable examples by groundbreaking European and American designers, such as Charles Frederick Worth, Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, Gabrielle Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Halston, Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo, as well as traditional dress from diverse cultures around the globe. The museum holds a significant collection of the work of twentieth-century American designer, Elizabeth Hawes.
The textile collection is cross-cultural ranging from fifth-century Coptic textiles to contemporary fiber art. In-depth collections include Flemish, French, and English tapestries, nineteenth-century quilts, an impressive collection of Kashmiri and paisley shawls, Javanese batiks and printed designs by William Morris and Herman Miller among others. The collection also holds outstanding examples of Neo-classical and Etruscan-revival jewelry with a collecting emphasis on the work of mid-twentieth-century modernist jewelers.
Manufacture Royale de Beauvais, 1960.558
Cynthia Amnéus is Chief Curator and Curator of Fashion Arts and Textiles with more than twenty years of experience in her field. She received her B.A. from Edgecliff College of Xavier University and her M.A. from Illinois State University in textiles and fibers. Prior to joining the Cincinnati Art Museum staff, she taught at Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati. She has lectured throughout the United States on topics as diverse as ornamental hairwork, motorcycle clothing and wedding gown design as it relates to women’s role in society. Amnéus has published in various scholarly journals, including the Journal of the American Institute of Conservation, The Journal for the American Society of Jewelry Historians and the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion and contributed essays to the exhibition-related catalogues Perfect Likeness: European and American Portrait Miniatures from the Cincinnati Art Museum (2006) and Eternal Summer: The Art of Edward Henry Potthast (2013). Her publication A Separate Sphere: Dressmakers in Cincinnati’s Golden Age, 1877-1922 won the 2004 Victorian Society of America’s Ruth Emery Publication Award. Amnéus’s most recent contribution is Wedded Perfection: 200 Years of Wedding Gowns (2010). She has curated diverse exhibitions, including Where Would You Wear That: The Mary Baskett Collection (2009), Art Deco: Fashion and Design in the Jazz Age (2011), Behind the Seams: Exhibiting and Conserving Fashion and Textiles (2012) and guest curated exhibitions of contemporary Japanese fashion for the Textile Museum, Washington D. C. and the Crow Museum of Asian Art in Dallas.