November 3 – A clothing and accessories timeline features the history of fashion trends in Gainesville.
The fourth and final theme for “The Fadeless Photographer: The NC White Studio Collection” highlights fashion trends from the past 70 years inside the Northeast Georgia History Center.
The episode, titled “Fashion Through the Decades”, features vintage clothing, timeless accessories and photographic portraits of residents of Gainesville from the late 1800s to mid-1900s taken by photographers NC White and NC White Jr. .
The exhibit took nearly a year to put together, according to the history center’s collections and archives manager, Lesley Jones.
The nine garments in the exhibit were selected from the history center’s own archives and donated by local organizations and residents.
A walk through the gallery brings viewers to a visual timeline of dressed mannequins beginning with a black double-breasted 1880s woolen gentleman’s coat, followed by a black 1890s mourning dress.
During this period, fashion was used to indicate one’s social status among other elites, according to the history center.
Next on display is a 1910s white lace wedding dress, complete with lace bodice and sleeves. At that time, wedding attire “was based on the traditional fashion of that period and continued to be worn as an evening gown after the nuptials,” according to exhibit signage.
Twenty years later, a homemade 1930s ruffled floral maxi dress illustrated a post-Great Depression era when fabrics were used to inexpensively recreate clothing worn by the upper class. The skirt is taken at the waist and is three-tiered at the bottom of the hem, suggesting that the dress is “homemade”, as “off the shelf” garments of the time would not require so much fabric for the topping, noted the story center.
Bold patterns were also introduced around this time, according to the story center, and shorter ties became the style with high-waisted pants.
In the next room, visitors will find a gallery wall filled with portraits of fashionable individuals captured by white people.
With the exception of those identified in a register covering the period 1918-1920, the majority of white subjects remain unidentified. Numbers are placed next to each of the portraits on display in the hope that a viewer can recognize and identify them.
“I wanted to create an exhibit so people could learn more about (White) and see his amazing work,” Jones said. “(White’s studio) was on the spot so he must have been good, but nobody knew who he was,” she said. “I thought if we showed his work, maybe people would see how important he was to the history of Gainesville.”
Past exhibit themes include diversity, siblings, and military portraiture.
Jones described the collection as “70 years of family memories” and hopes viewers will get a better sense of Gainesville’s history through the lens of NC White.
“I just want them to see what I see: the true story of Gainesville,” Jones said.
“Fashion Through the Decades” is scheduled to be on display through December.
For more information and admission details, visit negahc.org/visit.