Source: Costume Society of America
The Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume Collection (“The Sage Collection”) is one of the oldest college/university costume collections in the United States. Founded in 1937 upon the retirement of Elizabeth Sage, the first professor of Clothing and Textiles at Indiana University, it now numbers more than 25,000 objects in its permanent and study collections. The oldest pieces date to the last half of the 18th century, while the most recent include look books and published materials from this year. Though without a dedicated gallery since 1993, exhibitions on children’s clothing, fans, t-shirts, fashion silhouettes and beauty ideals, as well as the only retrospective of renowned Hoosier fashion designer Bill Blass (the collection contains more than 300 Blass objects), have allowed staff to share the collection with students, faculty, and the public.
The Sage Collection has a social history focus encompassing high-end haute couture and designer ready-to-wear, as well as the everyday dress of men, women, and children. Objects pertaining to IU history are especially valued, such as those related to Hoagy Carmichael and Alfred Kinsey, and help to tell the story of this Midwestern public university. Across the IU campus, instructors have been increasingly incorporating primary sources and material culture objects into their teaching. Sage Collection artifacts have been studied in fashion design, fashion history, military history, theater design, and studio arts classrooms. A portion of the Sage Collection objects are searchable online and more objects are always being added.
Recently, the Sage Collection accepted several pieces of contemporary modest Muslim apparel and a sports hijab in an effort to better represent globalization and our current social history. In late 2017, the Sage Collection acquired an incredibly unique and valuable group of objects: The Glenn Close Costume Collection. The Glenn Close Costume Collection encompasses nearly the entirety of the esteemed actor’s career, from The World According to Garp through The Wife, and also includes personal wardrobe pieces worn to awards and premieres. More than 300 costumes from film, television, and stage productions such as 101 and 102 Dalmatians, Dangerous Liaisons, Guardians of the Galaxy, Mary Reilly, Stepford Wives, Sarah Plain and Tall, Damages, and Sunset Boulevard demonstrate a wide range of characters and artistry from costume designers such as Anthony Powell, Ann Roth, Consolata Boyle, Alexandra Byrne, and Judianna Makovsky. Many units on the IU campus are eager to incorporate these pieces into their teaching efforts—a Gender, Representation, and the Body class has already used the black leather coat from Fatal Attraction in a unit on Bodies on the Screen. Processing is still ongoing, and the Sage Collection is planning on sharing pieces from the Glenn Close Costume Collection via a public exhibition in the future, after which the collection will be available for research.
For more information visit The Sage Collection Website.