An exhibition of select evening wear donated by New York designer Arnold Scaasi opens at Colorado State University’s Gustafson Gallery with a reception 4-6 p.m., Sept. 19 in Room 145 Gifford Building. The reception is free and open to the public.
The donation, valued at $54,000, includes 39 extraordinary ball gowns and evening dresses replete with intricate draping, rich jewel tones and close attention to detail. The donation was made to Colorado State’s Historic Costume and Textiles Collection in the department of design, merchandising and consumer sciences.
"We’re excited to be a part of the Arnold Scaasi legacy and to have the opportunity to display his beautiful creations," said Linda Carlson, curator at the Gustafson Gallery. "The evening wear will add immeasurably to the Historic and Costume and Textiles Collection, and it will benefit students and others who are interested in studying the work of leading designers."
Scaasi, who is known primarily for his designs of glamorous evening wear, was born in Canada and began his career with Charles James in the 1950s. Caroline Milbank, author of "Couture and New York Fashion: The Evolution of American Style," said Scaasi’s designs are "blends of three elements: cut, fabric and color…variations of the hourglass shape, with long torsos highlighted by skirts held away from the body in asymmetric curves, bustles, poufs, trumpet shapes…Above the waist his dresses usually frame the bustline, shoulders and neck."
Well-known clients of Scaasi include Barbra Streisand, who wore a see-through black silk jumpsuit to the 1969 Oscar ceremonies, and Barbara Bush, who wore a dark sapphire velvet and satin gown to the Inaugural Ball.
The evening wear will be shown at the Gustafson Gallery on campus through Nov. 21. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.