An American Legacy: Norell, Blass, Halston and Sprouse

May 4, 2012-January 27, 2013

installation view: An American Legacy: Norell, Blass, Halston & Sprouse

An American Legacy: Norell, Blass, Halston & Sprouse highlights the achievements of celebrated fashion designers Norman Norell, Bill Blass, Stephen Sprouse and Halston, all of whom hailed from Indiana. Spanning more than 50 years of fashion history, the exhibition presents the work of four innovative designers, their individual styles and lasting influence on American fashion. The exhibition features 51 garments drawn from the IMA’s comprehensive collection, augmented with major loans from the archives of Stephen Sprouse. Established in 1973 with the donation of five pieces from the estate of Norman Norell, the IMA’s American fashion design collection now comprises more than 500 pieces from Norell, Blass and Halston alone, one of the largest of its kind in the country.

An American Legacy is the first group exhibition devoted to these prolific Indiana designers, whose work came to define true American style. It traces their careers and offers a fresh look at their creations, which range in date from the 1940s to the early 21st century. The pieces were selected to represent the unique style of each designer, highlighting their individual artistic approaches and philosophies of decorating the human body.

Among the highlights of the exhibition are a Bill Blass evening gown created for the former first lady Nancy Reagan, a Norman Norell day dress worn by American actress Betty Furness while on camera during the 1960 Presidential convention, a 1972 evening dress designed by Halston based on Andy Warhol’s ‘flowers’ paintings, and a Sprouse designed Warhol-inspired camouflage dress popularized by rock star Debbie Harry.

On loan from the archives of Stephen Sprouse

Photos of the Exhibition

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An American Legacy: Norell, Blass, Halston and Sprouse Indianapolis Museum of Art 4000 Michigan Rd., Indianapolis, IN