Exhibition Details


Location: The Kelly Ellman Fashion Design Gallery
Dates: September 6, 2008
to February 1, 2009

Overview

"I'm completely sold on this show. Literally. I just went online and ordered a jumpsuit in black".

Phoenix New Times

Skydivers wear them. Mechanics wear them. Iconic musicians wear them. Even Olympic destined world-record breaking swimmers wear them. One for All, All for One: The Jumpsuit offers an unsurpassed 90 year exploration of this simple and highly versatile garment. From an original WWI women’s factory uniform created in 1918 to several couture pieces fresh from the runways of New York and Paris, this original exhibition offers a retrospective view of both the fashion and functionality of the jumpsuit.

One for All, All for One explores the utilitarian beginnings of the jumpsuit – a quintessential work and flight uniform of the early 20th century – and follows the one-piece as it progresses and evolves into the often theorized garment of the future. The show incorporates several early examples of jumpsuits including a Charles Lindberg original flight suit, Levis mechanic coveralls from the 1920s and a WWII “Rosie the Riveter” uniform.

Highlighting the golden age of the jumpsuit – the late 1960s and early 70s – the exhibition features an official NASA spacesuit which is believed to have ignited the one-piece fashion craze. Images of astronauts dressed in space suits coupled with emerging freedoms for women, became inspirations for entertainers and designers alike. Jumpsuits embellished with appliqués, printed patterns and exotic trims became a fashion mainstay. One for All, All for One offers a chance to see amazing garments from this era including designs by Rudi Gernreich, Yves Saint Laurent, Donald Brooks and Norma Kamali.

In 2008, almost a decade after first being introduced, one-piece garments are still not considered a fashion staple, but they continue to be worn by trendsetters around the world. One for All, All for One also incorporates some of the most recent renditions of jumpsuits including designs by Stella McCartney and Preen from their Spring 2008 collections. Also on display will be a number of sports pieces including an authentic NASCAR racing uniform, a skydiving suit worn by the landmark group Freefly Clowns and the new Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit.

Throughout the 20th century and now as we enter the 21st century, the jumpsuit maintains a fluid elusiveness of purpose and place. Its one-piece construction and easy-off center front zipper create its useful practicality and sex appeal – and, its impracticalities. It’s this juxtaposition and its wide range of uses that makes the jumpsuit such an important and intriguing subject to explore.

One for All, All for One includes more than 35 examples of jumpsuits uniting pieces from the Museum’s own collection with garments loaned by institutions from around the country. With an array of patterns, fabrics and styles and a myriad of world-renowned pieces, including high-fashion interpretations, the exhibition reflects the jumpsuit’s numerous stylistic and functional advancements.

Image Credits

Left: Credit information TBC. Center:Charles Lindbergh standing beside the Spirit of St. Louis, 1927, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis. Photo by American Commercial Photographers. Right: Donald Brooks 1970’s, Jumpsuit and Belt. wool jersey with metal embellishment. Gift of Mrs. Kelly Ellman. Photo by Ken Howie.

Major support for this exhibition is provided by Robert Burg Design. Promotional support for this exhibition has been provided by Cox Communications, Clear Channel Communications, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Latino Future Magazine and Scottsdale, Glendale, Mesa and Phoenix Public Libraries.