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The Women Who Revolutionized Fashion | Paris Style

Image of mannequins displaying various fashions as part of an exhibition.Join Petra Slinkard, the Director of Curatorial Affairs and the Nancy B. Putnam Curator of Fashion and Textiles at the Peabody Essex Museum in celebration of the exhibition Marjorie Merriweather Post's Paris. Drawing on her award winning book, The Women Who Revolutionized Fashion: 250 Years of Design, Slinkard’s presentation will spotlight the work of female designers working in early 1900s Paris. This talk celebrates women’s often-overlooked contributions to the fashion and design industry as well as  designers who transcended genres and revolutionized ideas of identity.  Examples from the Peabody Essex Museum, the Kunstmuseum, Den Haag and Hillwood’s collections will populate the presentation.

Please join the author for a book signing immediately following the lecture. The Women Who Revolutionized Fashion: 250 Years of Design is available for purchase from the museum store before and after the lecture.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Petra Slinkard.


This lecture will be presented in the theater in the Ellen MacNeille Charles Visitor Center and will be livestreamed via Zoom. Visitors can submit questions for the speaker from any location. 


5:30–6:30 p.m. | Explore Hillwood

6:30–7:30 p.m. | Lecture 

7:30 p.m. | Book signing. The Women Who Revolutionized Fashion: 250 years of design will be available in the museum shop. Click here to purchase the book online!


Headshot of Petra Slinkard.Petra Slinkard joined PEM in 2018, following her role as Curator of Costume at the Chicago History Museum, where she worked with a collection of more than 50,000 examples of fashion and textiles used in exhibitions, research and community outreach. At PEM, Slinkard fosters the growth and inclusive spirit of the museum’s celebrated fashion initiative to develop a vibrant array of exhibitions, installations and programming that celebrate the global impact and reach of fashion and textiles. Slinkard oversees the museum’s Fashion and Design gallery and was the co-curator of Made It: The Women who Revolutionized Fashion, organized in association with the Kunstmuseum Den Haag. In her role as Director of Curatorial Affairs, Slinkard oversees PEM’s curatorial teams and develops departmental priorities and the strategies to deliver them.

Slinkard conceived and curated the exhibitions Chicago Styled: Fashioning The Magnificent Mile® and Making Mainbocher | The First American Couturier, for which she authored catalogues of the same titles. Prior to the Chicago History Museum, she worked at Newfields (Indianapolis Museum of Art), where she helped expand the museum's fashion and textile exhibition program and collection, as well as supported key events and the Museum’s Fashion Arts Society. At Newfields, she helped to shape a number of exhibitions such as An American Legacy: Norell, Blass, Halston and Sprouse and Body Unbound: Contemporary Couture from the IMA's Collection, and co-curated Ball-Nogues Studio: Gravity's Loom. Slinkard is an active member of the Costume Society of America (CSA) and the American Association of Museum Curators (AAMC). She serves on the National Board of CSA, and previously served as a juror for the Milla Davenport Publication Award and as chair for the Richard Martin Exhibition Award Committee. She regularly presents programming on fashion and design history and museum studies. Slinkard is a graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington, where she earned a B.S. in Fashion Merchandising, a B.A. in Art History with a concentration in Modern and Contemporary Art and an M.S. in Fashion/Textile History. In 2017 she was recognized as one of the University’s "20 under 40" most distinguished alumni in the College of Arts and Sciences and joined the advisory board for IU’s newly established School of Art, Architecture and Design.

Photo credit: Petra Slinkard. Director of Curatorial Affairs and the Nancy B. Putnam Curator of Fashion and Textiles. Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Bob Packert/PEM.

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