Volunteer Teresa Knutson coordinates the historic clothing exhibits. She holds a degree in Costume and Textile Design with graduate work in Costume and Textile History. Beginning in 2006, Teresa has inventoried all of the clothing and textiles in the collection, cataloguing over 230 historic garments.
Teresa’s credits include volunteer experience at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Keeler Tavern in Ridgefield, CT and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, CO. For 10 years, she was a seamstress and patternmaker for the Minnesota Opera Company.
Mentioning black in regards to fashion today conjures up the little black dress, although the concept of the little black dress is slightly less than a hundred years old. In fact, black has cycled in and out of fashion throughout the history of western civilizations. Because black symbolizes death and darkness, it was originally adopted by the Egyptians and Greeks for mourning clothing. Black absorbs all colors, only reflecting darkness, so some identify it as a color and others think it isn’t a color, but like all colors, black suggests different meanings in different cultures and different times.
This exhibit includes 15 examples of women’s attire, one child’s dress, and one example of men’s formalwear representing fashions from the 1890’s to the 1950’s.
Written by Teresa Knutson
•When worn by someone in mourning, black conveys sorrow and grief. •When worn by the working classes and servants, black conveys plainness and frugality. •When worn by the clergy, black conveys piety. •When worn by witches, black conveys mysticism and/or wickedness. •When worn by judges, black conveys integrity and intellect. •When worn by beatniks, punks, and goths, black conveys nonconformity and rebellion. •When worn as men’s or women’s formal evening wear, black conveys elegance and sophistication.