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Fashion Resources

Fashion resources from the Costume Institute Library

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Top 10 Fashion Resources from the Costume Institute Library

1) Costume Institute Library and Costume Institute Collection 

2) Press Release for Costume Institute exhibitions

  • Past and present press releases available on the Met's website.

3) The Timeline of Art History, Costume Institute essay collection

  • Direct link here.
  • 30 of the 41 essays displayed are written by curatorial staff in the Costume Institute

4) Met Libraries' Digital Collections

  • Costume Institute includes:
    • Bergdorf Goodman fashion sketches, 1929-1952
    • French fashion photographs, 1895-1915
    • Costume Institute exhibition binders, 1939- recent (installation/gallery views, wall text, label information) 
    • and more!
  • Costume Institute Fashion Plates (1790-1939)
    • From various publications, covers women’s, men’s, children’s, wedding dresses, accessories, etc.
    • Great resources period costume research

5) Bloomsbury Fashion Central (subscription database; two resources accessible from same homepage):  

  • Berg Fashion Library covers 1600 to present, non-western/western, fashion accessories and jewelry 
    • Great for verifying  biographical information and verifying terminology 
    • Includes full text access to the Berg encyclopedia of world dress and fashion, the A-Z of fashion, the Dictionary of fashion, e-Books and journals, and museum collection images  
  • Fashion Photography Archive (latest acquisition, not fully loaded) 
    • 250,000 of the 750,000 currently available runway, BTS, and street style images by photographer Niall McInerney from international runway shows from the 1970s to early 2000s and over 400 designers such as McQueen, Gaultier, Westwood, Chalayan, Galliano, and more.   

Fashion & Trade Magazines via ProQuest: (subscription database)

” About” link will have a short history of the magazine and subject coverage

“Browse Issues” page will indicate the most recent issue digitized, has a list of fashion editors and their working dates, but also allow you to look for a specific issue (e.g. April 15, 1967).

SAMPLE SEARCH: “CINDY CRAWFORD” — you can modify your search results with the various options on the left side of the screen and find out how many Vogue covers she has been on and how many times each photographer has photographed her

SAMPLE SEARCH: ”CHANEL” — you can narrow your results to only advertising images, but also brands such as Chanel No. 5 perfume.

Search all fashion related databases on ProQuest by selecting “Search” next to “The Arts” section then “Advanced Search” under the text box.  Under “More search options” you can select any or all the fashion-specific databases to do a search.

7) Vogue Runway  (free online resource)

  • Runway photos go back to Fall 1991 RTW collections 
  • Covers women’s wear, menswear, ready-to-wear, couture, etc.
  • Search by season or designer

8) Designer Files (various ephemera, tearsheets, press clippings, etc.) 

  • Link to see all designer files in (call number search for “COSTUME FILE – PEOPLE”)
  • In Watsonline, these files are marked “Department Use Only” but these can be pulled to be viewed in Watson Library if a researcher inquires (a few folders).  Folders with less than a dozen sheets we will scan and email to researcher as a courtesy.

9) Lookbook Collection (catalogs of a designer’s collection for a specific season e.g. Chanel Fall-Winter 2002)

  • Lookbooks are requestable by the box (not individually cataloged)
  • Link to see all  records (keyword search “lookbooks”)

10)  Instagram:

  • To get an idea idea of what you can find in the Costume Institute Library collection, check out instagram @costumeinstitutelibrary
  • Each post has a Google link that that they can copy/paste into their browser that leads them to the Watsonline record
  • You do not need a smartphone or iPad! Can be viewed on the computer: