The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society is working to create a permanent home at the Old Mint. Until that project is complete, the SFMHS produces temporary exhibits either at the Old Mint or in other venues.
San Francisco Style
April 20–21 and 25–28, 11:00 am–4:00 pm
The San Francisco Style exhibition will feature 120 years of San Francisco Fashion, beginning with the Gold Rush, 1850, through the 1970’s. Curated by Christine Adams, SFMHS Collections Assistant.
Admission is $5 for SFMHS members; $10 for nonmembers.
The San Francisco Style exhibition at the Old Mint will feature 120 years of San Francisco Fashion, beginning with the 1850’s Gold Rush, through the 1970’s–including photographs, posters, ad art and clothing items on loan from A.C.T. Costume Department, Bebe, Cable Car Clothiers, Decades of Fashion, Esprit, GAP, Jessica McClintock, Kyle McGuire (Victorian Alliance), Levi Strauss & Co., Native Daughters of the Golden West, Margaret O’Leary Inc., San Francisco History Center, Society of California Pioneers, Bob and Audrey Sockolov (Rochester Big & Tall), and collectible gear from San Francisco’s own Giants Major League Baseball team. Additionally, the Academy of Art University will stream a fashion show and display stylish items designed by their fashion graduates.
Fashion is the ultimate artistic expression of individual style, and San Francisco has had an influence on the way people dress dating back to the 19th century.
Most famously, the city is known as the birthplace of blue jeans. The world’s best selling item of clothing and one of the greatest icons of modern fashion, blue jeans were invented in San Francisco by Levi Strauss in 1873. In the 1950s, the blue denim synonymous for decades with hard, honest work became a symbol of rebellious youth when sported by screen idols like James Dean and Marlon Brando. Blue jeans have since entered the high fashion vocabulary and are ubiquitous. Today jeans are part of the repertoire of haute couture houses like Armani, Valentino and Chanel.
The whimsical, irreverent attire of the Haight Ashbury’s Flower Children in the 1960s has influenced clothing designers as diverse as Jessica McClintock and Betsey Johnson. In the late 1960s Bill Kelly, Stanley Mouse and others set up a studio in Mill Valley to produce designs expressly for Tshirts, thus putting fine art on what had previously been regarded as a merely utilitarian article of clothing. Since the ’60s the influence of San Francisco’s clothing designers has only continued to create new fashion trends: Don and Doris Fisher’s Gap, Susie and Doug Tompkins’ Esprit, Mel and Patricia Ziegler’s Banana Republic, the list goes on and on.
SFMHS events are sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.