I’ve been meaning to tell you about the fabulous annual gala at Hillwood Estate two weeks ago celebrating the opening of the exhibition “Ingenue to Icon” displaying the remarkable wardrobe of Post (cereal) heiress, Marjorie Merriweather Post. I co-chaired the evening event with two wonderful Washingtonians, Betsy Scott Kleeblatt and Joseph Perta, held in the beautiful gardens of Post’s estate in Northwest DC. Although it rained on and off throughout the evening, the weather couldn’t dampen the festive crowd of about 350 attendees, where women wore anything from full length gowns to tulle enhanced cocktail length dresses and men were handsomely dressed in their black tie.
We toasted Post’s grand style showcased in her Spring and Summer collection from the late 19th to mid-20th century. “Throughout her life, Marjorie treated her clothing in much the same manner as her art collection,” said Hillwood’s associate curator of textiles and curator of the exhibition, Howard Kurtz. “She knew that her clothing represented not just her own style, but a record of women’s fashion.” It was most apparent in her wardrobe choices that Post had a great appreciation for the richness of fabrics, expert tailoring, and elegant design. In one of our first planning meetings for the gala, I asked if we could have a sneak preview of some of the designs in the exhibit. To my surprise, we went straight to a closet off a gorgeous bedroom at Hillwood and got to see up close (not touch) some of Post’s gowns and cocktail dresses. They were all well-constructed in beautiful fabrics, most either ornately embellished at top or bottom hem. I remarked then that her dresses were designed in a way that both balanced and enhanced her figure: broad shouldered and full bust with slim hips. You have to see the exhibit when you come to DC next, Ann, but here’s a taste of what is in on display.
Her Fall and Winter wardrobe will go in display in October, so you and I must go twice to see it all!
Photos courtesy of Tony Powell, Renee Comet of Hillwood Estate, Musuem &Gardens, Carol Joynt for New York Social Diary