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Newport, Resort City of Fashion, 1870-1920: A Newport Historical Society Lecture

the Newport Historical Society will host fashion historian Rebecca Kelly to present the illustrated lectureNewport: Resort City of Fashion 1870 – 1920.

The talk will highlight Newport, Rhode Island as a resort fashion capital that propelled New York’s sportswear industry. During the Gilded Age vibrant “Gibsonesque”, women wearing simple shirtwaists and walking skirts for golf, tennis, or out driving in Newport became the idealized version of the sporty American woman. More relaxed resort style clothing contributed significantly to a fashion identity separate from that of Paris. Images of the famed clothing and millinery shops along Bellevue Avenue and the stories of the enterprising women who ran them will be showcased.

Rebecca J. Kelly is a textile and dress historian focused on the study of nineteenth and twentieth century textiles, trade, and retail history. She is particularly interested in the birth of American fashion and revealing the work of under-recognized women fashion and textile designers. She holds a BA in Art History and an MS in textile conservation both from The University of Rhode Island. Rebecca curated the Newport Historical Society’s summer 2021 exhibition, The World in Motion: Fashion and Modernity 1885 – 1945, and co-curator the companion exhibition Women Take the Wheel: Fashion, Modernity and the Automobile 1905 – 1945 at the Audrain Automobile Museum.

Doors open at 5:30pm, Newport: Resort City of Fashion 1870 – 1920 starts at 6:30pm. Admission costs $20 per person, $15 for Newport Historical Society members and members of the military. Ticket includes a complimentary glass of wine or beer. Attendees are welcome to wear historically inspired Victorian and Edwardian attire.

This event is proudly sponsored by Barrington Arms 302, Hilton Head Island, SC.


March 23, 2023
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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Newport Historical Society
82 Touro Street
Newport, RI 02840 United States
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