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Stephen Burrows, Scotty Piper, Patrick Kelly, Willi Smith, and Barbara Bates—five stories within the folds of fashion.

The clothing we wear and the styles we embrace often reveal what we value and what we aspire to, ultimately helping us understand ourselves and examine the world in which we live.

From the Chicago History Museum’s clothing collection of more than 50,000 pieces, ten never-been-exhibited ensembles were selected to tell the remarkable stories of these five designers. Dating from the 1970s to the 1980s, the garments are expressions of their creators’ experiences and identities. Dressing celebrity clientele as well as everyday people, they produced engaging, conscientious, and stylish designs while contributing their own perspectives to fashion.

This exhibition was supported by the generous donations of the following:

$5,000 and up

Carlette C. McMullan, Lyssa Piette, D. Elizabeth Price, Liz Stiffel, Richard and Diane Weinberg

$1,000–$4,999

Constance K. Barkley, Mary Jo Basler, Kathleen M. Boege, Sally Schwartz Brody, Alfredo and Pamella Capitanini, Mary Ann Childers, Joan E. Clifford, David and Nancy Connelly, Bon and Holly French, Carol Prins and John Hart, Courtney and Tobin Hopkins, Gary T. and Susan M. Johnson, Erica C. Meyer, Maggie M. Morgan, Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Foundation, Two Girls and a Hammer LLC, The Abra Wilkin Fund, Winzeler Gear, Karen Zupko

Treasured Ten Promotional Video

Curators for the Treasured Ten

Charles E. Bethea
Andrew W. Mellon Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs

Charles E. Bethea is the Andrew W. Mellon Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs at CHM. He has worked in museums for more than 25 years in several positions, including education, curatorial, and administration. At CHM, Bethea is responsible for overseeing all curatorial activities, providing an overall curatorial vision and direction, and prioritizing all work in the department. In addition, he provides direction for the Museum’s collecting agenda, including new acquisitions and deaccessions and the development of new exhibitions.

Jessica Pushor
Collection Manager of Costumes and Textiles

Jessica Pushor is the collections manager of costume and textiles at CHM. She holds a MA in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Treasured Ten is Pushor’s curatorial debut, and she has assisted on several fashion exhibitions in the past. At CHM, she worked on Silver Screen to Mainstream: American Fashion in the 1930s and ’40s; Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier; Chicago Styled: Fashioning The Magnificent Mile®; and Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair. At the Museum of the City of New York, Pushor assisted with Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced.