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Fashion History

Seattle’s style encompasses everything from high glamour to innovative, functional designs. Get a glimpse of MOHAI’s captivating garment collection at Behind the Seams garment viewings throughout the year, and discover surprising stories at the annual Fashion Lecture held each Fall.

What defines Seattle’s style? Unveil local trends and fashion within highlights of the museum’s collections, as well as during lectures and viewings.

Style in the Pacific Northwest

Space Needle Dress

In celebration of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, several fabric companies created prints that featured the star attractions of the fairgrounds. The imaginative home sewer who made this dress used the print in a creative way. The skirt and the body of the jacket showcase the pattern, with the International Fountain centered on the back of the jacket. The dress bodice and jacket sleeves use the plain green sections as backdrop for specific features which have been cut out and carefully appliqued into position.

In Search of Seattle Style

Seattleites are often more likely to joke about local fashion than to brag. Seattle is a city better known for grunge than gowns, but has it always been that way? How did people talk about Seattle style in the past? Are trendsetters being overlooked today? Uncover Seattle’s complicated relationship with style during an intriguing exploration with Clara Berg, MOHAI’s clothing and textiles specialist during the 2016 annual Fashion Lecture.

Black Dress with Metallic Floral Pattern

This c. 1928 evening dress was purchased at Helen Igoe’s Shop For Women in downtown Seattle. Igoe made annual trips to Europe to buy clothes for her store and stay up-to-date on the latest styles.

Bubbleator Operator Uniform

The Bubbleator was a large, spherical plastic elevator that took visitors between floors of the Seattle World’s Fair Washington State exhibit in what is now Key Arena. The elevator operator’s silver uniform from 1962 reflected the Space Age themes of the fair.

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