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The Costume and Textile Collection

Gatsby's Closet

Gatsby’s Closet: Dress and character in The Great Gatsby
August 18-November 1, 8:00-7:00 Monday through Saturday
Elizabeth Schmeck Brown Costume and Textile Gallery
Third Floor, Martha Van Rensselaer Hall

In conjunction with Cornell University’s freshman book project, the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection has mounted an exhibition based on The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tragic tale of love and loss in the Jazz Age is full of vivid representations of the dress and appearance of his characters. Fitzgerald, like many other writers, frequently uses descriptions of dress as a means of developing character.

Dress is closely tied to identity in real life. We all represent ourselves to others through our clothes, whether consciously or unconsciously. We are also sensitive readers of the appearance of others. This exhibition attempts to make Fitzgerald’s verbal descriptions into visual representations that will hopefully enrich our understanding of the characters and their story.

The Elizabeth Schmeck Brown Costume and Textile Gallery is located on the third floor of Martha Van Rensselaer Hall. The Cornell Costume and Textile Collection archive of more than 10,000 items of apparel, accessories, and textiles, can also be visited by appointment for specific research projects. The items shown here are just a taste of what can be seen in the exhibition upstairs.

See Charlotte Jirousek's essay on Dress and Identity: the study of dress as an intellectual pursuit.

For further information, please contact
Charlotte Jirousek, Associate Professor and Curator