From cowboy boots and bathing suits to Hollywood gowns and streetwear, Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour presents American fashion as a powerful emblem of global visual culture. Highlighting historical garments, ready-to-wear classics, and iconic red carpet fashion moments, Fashioning America demonstrates the widespread impact of media and celebrity culture through fashion. This bilingual Spanish–English presentation includes more than 100 objects—from a rare 19th-century denim frock coat to a zero-waste wedding dress and Savage X Fenty lingerie—and amplifies the voices of Indigenous, Black, immigrant, and women designers who are often left out of dominant narratives of American fashion history. This sweeping presentation reflects the American spirit of ingenuity and underscores important stories of opportunity and self-innovation. Featured designs include Isabel Toledo’s inauguration suit design for Michelle Obama, a dazzling rhinestone Nudie suit, gowns from the Ebony Fashion Fair, and—one of the oldest American-labeled garments—a metallic tasseled evening gown by New Orleans’s Madame Olympe.

Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas and curated by Michelle Tolini Finamore.

The presentation in New Orleans is sponsored by the Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation, New Orleans Tourism and Cultural Fund, and Cathy and Hunter Pierson in honor of Mrs. Bertie Deming Smith. Additional support is provided by Elizabeth Boh, Mignon Faget, Tim Fields, Susanne and David Purvis, Robert and Millie Kohn, and Patricia Unangst.


Red Jogakbo Dress, Antecedence Collection

Spring/Summer 2021

Ji Won Choi

Recycled cotton

Courtesy Ji Won Choi. IED Firenze students: V. Botarelli, A. Capoccetta, M. Catarzi. Photo Sofia Brogi

Peacoat: Indigene


Virgil Ortiz

Wool shell, leather applique, and sterling silver VO logo buttons

© Virgil Ortiz, all rights reserved

Evening Gown


Madame Olympe Boisse

Silk brocade, silk/metallic fringe, silk ribbon

Gift of Cathy Gordon. Courtesy of FIDM Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles

Robe de Style Evening Dress


Hattie Carnegie

Lace, tulle, silk, rayon, and crystal

Jimmy Raye Collection, Salem, MA. Photo: Bob Packert, Courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum

Cowgirl and Cowboy Ensembles, Americana Collection, Ready-to-Wear

Spring 2017

Anna Sui

Photo by Raoul Gatchalian/Thomas Lau

Abstraction: Kiowa by Design


Teri Greeves

Beads on canvas high-heeled sneakers

11 ½ x 10 x 4 inches

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Edward C. Robinson III



Jordan Casteel

Oil on canvas

90 x 78 1/8 inches

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Edward C. Robinson III

Plan Your Visit

Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour is on view July 21–November 26 at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Museum admission with access to Fashioning America is $25 for adults and free for NOMA members. On Wednesdays, Louisiana residents receive free general admission to the museum, courtesy of The Helis Foundation, and on those days, tickets to this special exhibition are $10 for Louisiana residents.

The exhibition includes English and Spanish language wall labels.


A full-color exhibition catalogue published by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the University of Arkansas Press is available for purchase from the NOMA Museum Shop.

The book includes texts by exhibition curator Michelle Tolini Finamore and essays by Sonya Abrego, Amber-Dawn Bear Robe, Emma McClendon and Lauren Downing Peters, Angely Mercado, Tiffany Momon and Torren Gatson, Xuxa Rodríguez, and Elizabeth Way.