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Traphagen Collection

     In 1995, the Historic Costume and Textiles Collection purchased five 19th century garments from the estate of Ethel Traphagen, and received 69 others as a donation from her heirs. Ethel Traphagen, a fashion designer who is credited with introducing shorts and slacks into American women's fashion, founded the Traphagen School of Fashion in New York City in the 1920s. The school was known for its technical orientation of fashion design, with courses in pattern making and draping. The school closed its doors in the early 1990s. Some of the better known names in the fashion industry attended the Traphagen School of Fashion. Alumni members include: Geoffrey Beene, James Gallanos, Mary McFadden, John Kloss, Christos Yiannakou, and African-American designer Franklin Rowe. 
     The Traphagen collection at the Historic Costume and Textiles Collection consists of 74 garments and 33 assorted hats. The costumes range in date from the 1830s to the 1910s, with particular strength in the 1890s. The hats date from the 1820s up to the early 1950s. The Traphagen collection includes garments exemplifying the silhouettes of the 19th century, others are remarkable for their fabrics and opulence, and a few have French labels. 

1860s gown with evening and 
day bodice of aqua silk satin
trimmed with green velvet, 
ivory satin and white beads

Examples include: 

1840 dress and capelet in light brown cotton with a screen printed floral and check design

1830-40 transitions reception dress in an ivory cotton with a woven satin stripe roller printed in a meandering floral and stripped feather motif

1860s gown with evening and day bodice of aqua silk satin trimmed with green velvet, ivory satin and white beads

1865-1869 day dress with cape in a fine natural linen trimmed with bias cut bands

1895 wedding dress by A. Dusuzeau, Paris, in ivory silk satin trimmed with shirred silk chiffon, very large keg-of-mutton sleeves and enormous train 

Close-up of bodice


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