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About the Fashion Arts and Textiles Collection

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, textiles, dolls, and jewelry from around the world.

The Fashion Arts 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 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 and some of the earliest examples of Ann Lowe’s work—a Black twentieth century fashion designer. The Textile collection is cross-cultural ranging from fifth-century Coptic textiles to contemporary fiber art. The museum continues to actively collect a wide range of new works that exemplify the diversity of human experience.

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Featured Objects

blue and cream dress with a long skirt and floral decorations Reception Dress

Charles Frederick Worth, 1986.1200a-b

A black dress with a massive white mermaid bottom Evening Dress

Charles Frederick Worth, 1987.79

A dark blouse and Skirt

Stephen Burrows, 2014.124a-b


About the Curator

Cynthia Amnéus is Chief Curator and Curator of Fashion Arts and Textiles with more than twenty-five 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. 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 is the author of A Separate Sphere: Dressmakers in Cincinnati’s Golden Age 1877-1922, Wedded Perfection: 200 Years of Wedding Gowns, and Simply Brilliant: Artist-Jewelers of the 1960s and 1970s, among other publications. She has curated diverse exhibitions at both the Cincinnati Art Museum and guest curated exhibitions at other institutions.

Additional Resources

Carpets, Collections and Curating: A Look at the Museum Challenges of Woven Works of Islamic Art

Fashion in Prints