The BMA’s Best Dressed

jayne mansfield hanbok honorable dixon hall lewis janet newbold lady helen tophat and kitty evelyn nash lady of hasselt wedding dress
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"Marguerite de Steeland de Gaud, Lady of Hasselt" (Early 17th century), Attributed to Otto van Even, Flemish (1556-1629). Oil on canvas. Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the BMA. Gift of Mrs. Caroline Patterson Ireland in memory of Captain and Mrs. Hilton Johnson. AFI22.1983.

With Oscar Sunday upon us, anticipation is in the air as we await the winners of the year’s best films, performances, and – of course – fashions. There is certainly an art to selecting the right look for the red carpet, as the Academy Award’s iconic looks (and fashion faux-pas) are an enduring example of a brief moment in history. Each style tells a story, giving us a glimpse into the trends, manners, and even politics of an era.

In fact, all it takes is a stroll around our galleries to see how fashion illuminates a time period, a culture, or an echelon of society. Fashion was being documented long before red carpets, award ceremonies, and even before photography. Whether worn for an important portrait or on a wedding day, each piece of clothing says so much about the subject’s life.

In celebration of Hollywood’s biggest night, we have gotten in the spirit and picked our “best dressed” pieces of art currently on view. What stories are behind each of these looks? Come in for a visit to learn more.