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 experimental art-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 Native American, Black, and immigrant 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.

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