Biggest Little Fashion City

Ithaca NY was dubbed “The Biggest Little Fashion City” when, from 1914-1919, it was home to Wharton, Inc., a bustling movie production company that produced hundreds of films and serials starring some of the best known movie actors of the day: Irene Castle, Lionel Barrymore, and Pearl White.

The Biggest Little Fashion City: Ithaca and Silent Film Style explores how silent film revolutionized dress and fashion communication, spanning the 1910s through the late 1920s: the heyday of the silent film era. Moving pictures chronicled the changes in dress, accessories, and hair. By including garments worn by silent film starts such as Irene Castle and Minnie Maddern Fiske and featuring Lady Duff Gordon and Paul Poiret, designers who dressed these stars, we show how silent film enabled new fashion possibilities, which were later adopted by the masses and came to epitomize 1920s style.

This exhibit is on display from April 8 – Aug. 15, 2016 in Level T of the Human Ecology Building on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY.