'Native Haute Couture' opens Jan. 31 at Mitchell Museum

The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, 3001 Central St., Evanston, announces the opening of its new exhibit, "Native Haute Couture," Jan. 31.

The yearlong exhibit celebrates the history of Native American high fashion. It features unique and priceless garments that showcase American Indian artistry and expertise in tanning, weaving, embroidery, beadwork and tailoring.

From runways to ceremonies and celebrations of tribal culture, Native Americans have always had a sense of high fashion and adornment.

Prior to European contact, well established indigenous trade routes throughout North and Central America carried copper, prized dyed quills, carved bones and drilled and carved shells to embellish custom clothing.

Now recognized as uniquely American Indian designs, Native American artisans embraced and shaped new and exotic materials, including South American macaw feathers, European glass beads and Spanish silvers.

"Native Haute Couture" will feature examples of late 19th and early 20th century garments, footwear and accessories from tribes across the United States. These pieces reflect the incorporation of many European influenced trade goods and designs in traditional Native dress.

Among the items on display are a Sioux dress from circa 1915 made of elk skin with a beaded yolk in a geometric design; a Cheyenne child's dress from the 1950s that is navy piped with red ribbon; and a signature scarf from "Project Runway" finalist Patricia Michaels.

While the exhibit will lay the historical foundation for "Native Haute Couture," special programs throughout the year will feature some of the hottest Native designers and fashion influencers in high fashion today. Modern indigenous designers are creating fashions often reflecting their own tribal connection with artistic stitches.

For more information about the Mitchell Museum of The American Indian, visit or call (847) 475-1030. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays, and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults; $3 for seniors, students and children; and free for Mitchell Museum members and tribal members

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