"Regardless of where she was going or the weather, she insisted on heels. She just loved fashion," said
Her sense of style will come to life in "The Dorothy Edwards Collection," which gathers a life of couture from the 1930s through the 1980s and is on exhibit at the Kell House. The exhibit occupies each of the rooms of the 1909 house museum and may be viewed through
"The clothing on display -- dresses, suits, gowns, purses, hats, gloves and shoes -- all belonged to her," said Flood. Including accessories, about 200 pieces are part of the exhibit.
The clothing is either part of the Kell House collection or is on loan from
While the collection focuses on pieces from the 1930s and 1940s, it includes couture that dates into the 1980s.
"There are lots of designers in the exhibit, everyone from
Fabrics range from velvet to silk, cotton and even synthetics that were becoming popular in the 1970s and 1980s.
Most of the clothing was either made for her, purchased at major clothing shops, such as
Edwards was born on
The couple didn't have children, and she was active in the community and on the ranch. The philanthropic couple began the
"Most of what she wore was suits, whether she was around the house or working. There are a number of dresses and some gowns she would have worn for evenings out."
Edwards was petite and wore a size 2 or 3 (in today's size). Her shoes are tiny and are probably a size 4 or 5, Flood said.
"It was a lot of fun to curate the exhibit. Our exhibits committee put it together, and their biggest challenge was what to display and where to display it, so that pieces complemented each other in the same area."
Several of her husband's suits are on display, too. For example, his three-piece
"The idea is to give exhibit viewers a sort of vignette of the couple preparing to go out."
Many of her frocks are without labels and were likely sewn by hand, such as the red velveteen dress.
The luxurious exhibit opens in the Kell's receiving hall with a
The Kell's parlor features three pieces -- a crÈme and gold dress by
Also displayed are purses by
The exhibit gathers high-heeled shoes from around the world, including those by Palter DeLiso, Delman DeLuxe,
A selection of hats are on view by designers such as
"We highlight the designers in the exhibit, and many of them have interesting stories.
The Edward exhibit also includes the surprisingly stylish Red Cross Canteen Service dress she wore while volunteering in
The rooms and hallways of the Kell House are adorned with Edwards clothes, even the upstairs bathroom, in which viewers will find girdles, slips and even a housecoat (from Mildred's.)
Among the numerous designers, spread over six decades, is
"We usually focus on one thing in our fashion shows, like accessories or wedding gowns. This exhibit features the wardrobe of a very stylish woman. It's really amazing that we have some of these pieces, which could easily show in major museums across the country."
Clothing exhibits are very popular at the Kell House, she said, and the staff is excited about how visitors respond.
Admission is free, but donations are welcome to offset the price of renovations of the Kell House.
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