Miss Hepburn’s performance clothes, which were literally hanging in her own closets, include stage and film costumes spanning her career, as well as apparel worn for publicity purposes. The entire personal collection was given to the museum by Miss Hepburn’s estate in 2008. Exhibition sponsors are Dillard’s, H/L Communications, Nordstrom, Time Warner Cable, and WCLV.
For classic film lovers, Katharine Hepburn needs no introduction. Universally recognized as one of Hollywood’s greatest film stars, she was nominated by the Motion Picture Academy 12 times in the “Best Actress” category. She won an astounding four times – for "Morning Glory" (1933), "Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner" (1967), "The Lion In Winter" (1968), and "On Golden Pond" (1981) – an achievement that has never been equaled. Even after her death in 2003, she continues to appear consistently on lists of “most admired” women.
“On screen and off, Katharine Hepburn epitomizes the modern American woman – smart, independent, active, honest, feisty, and outspoken,” said Jean Druesedow, director of the KSU Museum and curator of the exhibit. “During the ’30s and ’40s, she popularized slacks for women, and she helped internationalize what is now called ‘The American Style.’ She has had a profound impact on American popular culture and fashion, and she has influenced generations of women around the world.”
Taking up the museum’s entire Broadbent Gallery, the costumes are presented according to genre, with “screen” including film and television. As befits an actress of Hepburn’s stature, they were designed or overseen by an “A” list of the greatest 20th century designers for fashion, stage and film – among them Valentina, Adrian, Irene, Muriel King, Cecil Beaton, Coco Chanel, Walter Plunkett, Edith Head, Patricia Zipprodt, Jane Greenwood, and Noel Taylor.
Movie frames, stage stills and publicity shots of Miss Hepburn, as well as her iconic beige slacks, linen vests, and tailored jackets
Stage costumes from "The Philadelphia Story" and "Without Love," as well as later Broadway shows "Coco," "West Side Waltz," and "A Matter of Gravity."
Film costumes and publicity clothes from "The Little Minister," "Adam’s Rib," "The Iron Petticoat," "Long Day’s Journey Into Night," "A Delicate Balance," "Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner," and "The Lion In Winter."
Costumes worn in her television movies, including her Emmy-nominated performance as the title character in "Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry" and her Emmy-winning performance as Jessica Medlicott in "Love Among the Ruins."
Even before the exhibit opened, it attracted national and international attention. Its pre-opening fashion show on Katharine Hepburn’s birthday (May 12, 2010), “Lunch With Kate,” was spotlighted in Women’s Wear Daily. In late September, the museum’s 25th anniversary gala (“25 Years of Dazzle!”) gave its guests – and the media – a special opportunity to preview the exhibit with Robert Osborne, the host of Turner Classic Movies, and Ann Rutherford, who played Scarlet O’Hara’s sister, Carreen, in “Gone With the Wind.” Videos of all these pre-opening events can be found on YouTube, beginning with ageneral introduction to the exhibit at http://www.youtube.com/
After the exhibit’s opening, a course on Hepburn was developed in partnership with Kent State University’s Women Studies Program. The museum’s regional film series, “Movie Date With Kate,” has screened Hepburn classics both at the museum and in partnership with various vintage movie theaters throughout Northeast Ohio. Special tours and programs at the museum delved into Hepburn’s image and influence, video introductions and tours were posted online (they can be found on the museum's website and Facebook page, and blogs and websites ran extended features and photo spreads, such as found at http://www.playbill.com/
“For all those who love classic movies, ‘Kate’ has truly become a ‘must-see,’”
For more information about the Hepburn exhibit and the other exhibits at the museum, call 330.672.3450, go to the museum’s website at http://www.kent.edu/
About the Kent State University Museum
The Kent State University Museum (KSUM) is accredited by the American Association of Museums, and is known internationally for its costume and fashion collections. Opened to the public in October 1985, KSUM was founded with an initial contribution from New York dress manufacturers Jerry Silverman and Shannon Rodgers. Their gift included 4,000 costumes and accessories, nearly 1,000 pieces of decorative art and a 5,000-volume reference library. Today the museum’s collections total more than 40,000 pieces and it holds one of the most comprehensive teaching collections of fashionable design from the 18th century to the present. Its eight galleries feature changing exhibitions of work by many of the world's great designers, and an extensive collection of American glass, fine furniture, textiles, paintings and other decorative arts combine to give context to the study of design.
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