Exhibition Details

Location: Ellman Fashion Design Gallery and Lewis Gallery
Dates: February 21, 2009
to July 5, 2009


Romantic ideas of chivalry and courtly magnificence from the Middle Ages have inspired the use of medieval silhouettes and details in modern fashion design, literature, architecture and art. Also known as Gothic style, medievalism blossomed in the mid-19th century as a sentimental response toward the societal challenges of rapid industrialization. While its origins lie in early antiquarian studies and politics, the revival of medieval silhouettes and motifs today emerges through popular mediums such as films, books and fairy tales that are distant interpretations.

Featuring over 40 ensembles, accessories and rare books, this exhibition will show medieval influences on fashion designs of the early 19th century through current collections. From Mariano Fortuny’s luxurious velvet gowns to John Galliano’s haute couture armor for Christian Dior to current Gothic street style, this fanciful installation brings together fashions that evoke the sumptuous textures and elegant, flowing lines that capture the medieval spirit.

Related Events

Partner Event: The Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace
Now through end of March. Special ticketing offers for Phoenix Art Museum patrons.

First Friday in April
Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, dressed in clothing and armour of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, will be in attendance.

Film & Performance
The Devil’s Envoys, April 19, 1pm

Lectures & Talks
Fashion in the Middle Ages? March 31, 7pm
Reforming Women’s Fashion, May 5, 7pm
Revisiting Details of History, March 3, 7pm
Day Dress, April 7, 14, 21 & 28, 11:30am

PhxArtKids Days
Kids of the Realm, April 5, Noon – 3pm

Get Your Goth On! March 10, 6:30pm

Workshops & Other
Drawing the Figure, February 28 & March 1, 10am – 4pm
Mother Nature, Father Time, February 19, March 5, 19, April 2 & 16
Get Real: Maximizing Reality with Color Pencils, April 18 & 19, 10am – 4pm

This exhibition is organized by Phoenix Art Museum. Major support has been provided by The Arizona Costume Institute and Brizo. Additional support provided by the Novis M. Schmitz Foundation. Promotional support provided by Latino Future Magazine, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Yelp.com and Scottsdale, Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix Public Libraries.

Exhibition Sponsor

Image Credits

Left: Chesta Wrenn. Gown, 1930’s. Silk velvet with metal stenciling. Gift of Mr. Ernest E. Leavitt. Photo by Ken Howie. Right: Azzedine Alaia. Tunics, c. 1993. Wool. Lent by Titi Halle. Photo by Ken Howie.