Costume Institute’s Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library Opens 15 Special Collections for Research

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Announcements Administration
New York, United States
Subject Fields: 
Archival Science, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Fine Arts, Humanities, Library and Information Science

Costume Institute’s Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library

Opens Four Special Collections for Research


The Costume Institute’s Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library announces the opening for research of four collections of records that document mid-20th century American designers and complement the Museum’s holdings in the Costume Institute.


Steven Arpad shoe sketch collection, 1939: More than 400 sketches of Steven Arpad's shoe designs that relate to 75 prototypes in the Costume Institute’s collection and allow for the identification of some uncredited shoe designs for Balenciaga and Delman as being by Arpad.


Bonnie Cashin collection, 1943-2000 (bulk 1950-1976): Among the best-known post-war American designers, Bonnie Cashin specialized in interchangeable ready-to-wear wardrobes that incorporated leather, suede, cashmere, and tweed. She also designed distinctive accessories for the Coach Leatherware Company and other manufacturers. The collection includes correspondence, original designs for gloves, together with photoreproductions of Hollywood costume designs, clippings, ephemera, publicity photographs, and press releases.


Norman Norell collection, 1927-1973: Norell’s consistent, decades-long career of producing garments that were both practical and luxurious, incorporating materials from wool to chiffon, designed for both evening and daywear, and available only through high-end retail outlets earned him the moniker “the Dean of American Fashion”. The collection consists of pages removed from a scrapbook that document Norman Norell’s career mainly through original and photocopied tearsheets and clippings from fashion magazines that include Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar,  and Town and Country; as well as a set of photocopied sketches, to some of which are attached fabric swatches.


Carolyn Schnurer collection, 1950-1955: During her 20 year career in fashion from 1944 to her retirement in 1964, Carolyn Schnurer was a pioneer in the mid-twentieth century’s newly emerging American sportswear industry. The collection includes correspondence; cost sheets, sketches, and swatches; as well as promotional photographs of models wearing Schnurer’s designs, fashion shows, and store window displays.




The collections are available, by appointment only, to qualified researchers onsite at the Costume Institute’s Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library. For information about setting up an appointment, please see the library’s website:


These collections are the second group to be opened for research as part of a two year project to make available more than 25 sets of special collections housed in the Costume Institute’s Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library.


Contact Info: 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Costume Institute's Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library

1000 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10028