Loyola University Chicago's Cuneo Mansion and Gardens will present an exhibition of period clothing, "The Ladies of Cuneo: The Martha Weathered Fashion Collection," Sunday, May 12, through Sunday, Sept. 8.
The exhibition explores the life and career of Martha Weathered, one of Chicago's most luxurious fashion importers, whose shop opened on Michigan Avenue in 1922 and operated until its closure in 1971.
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The costumes collection of the Cuneo Mansion contains examples of evening gowns, daytime ensembles and sportswear that both Julia Shepherd Cuneo (John Cuneo's wife) and her sister, Josephine Shepherd, wore.
The enchanting clothes, often made up in rich brocades and elaborate trim, will be displayed throughout the mansion, along with accoutrements, footwear and ephemera from the Martha Weathered shop.
Visitors to the self-guided exhibition will also be able to see Julia Shepherd Cuneo's gilded dress and shoe closets.
"Every elegant lady was a client of Martha's," said Mary Katherine Hartigan, a great niece by marriage of Martha Weathered and sponsor of "The Ladies of Cuneo" exhibition.
"These were the days pre-Neiman, pre-Saks, pre-Bloomingdale's, so if you wanted couture, you knew that Martha would have the newest things."
The exhibition will depict the fluidity and stability of fashion in the 1950s and 1960s through an analysis of the "Recurring Silhouettes" theory, and an overview of fashion history during the period in which the Cuneo family was in residence.
Curated by Emilie Stallman, a Loyola University Chicago history major, this is the first exhibition that serves as a hands-on learning experience for art history and public history students working with the Cuneo Collections to further the understanding of the period of 1917-70.
The exhibition is open to the public and free with admission to the mansion. The exhibition will premiere on Mother's Day and is complimentary with the purchase of a brunch ticket.
Stallman will host a curator walk-through in June. Loyola University Chicago's Cuneo Mansion and Gardens is at 1350 N. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills.
Cuneo Mansion and Gardens houses the Cuneo family collection of fine antiques, paintings by world-famous artists, tapestries, sculptures, silver and porcelain.
In December 2009, the Cuneo Foundation, the family foundation of John Cuneo Jr. and his wife, Herta, donated Cuneo Mansion and Gardens and its nearly 100 surrounding acres, an extensive collection of art and furnishings, and an in-kind distribution of funds to Loyola University Chicago, establishing the estate under Loyola's ownership.
Since receiving the estate, Loyola has completed a number of renovations and added a meeting and event pavilion for courses, lectures, and special events.
In addition to a broad range of cultural events offered throughout the year, the university also offers academic programming on-site, continuing Loyola's commitment to broadening educational opportunities in the greater Chicago area.