Bendel Fashion Sketches Inspire Holiday Window Display

  • Posted on Jan 03, 2013 by

This holiday season, the Brooklyn Museum Library is pleased have one of its collections channeled through the holiday window display of Henri Bendel at 721 5th Ave. (at 56th St.).  The display features mannequins wearing garments inspired by the Bendel Fashion Sketch Collection, held in the Brooklyn Museum Library’s Special Collections. 

Also notable?  The costumes on the mannequins are constructed from unconventional materials, such as candy, cupcake liners, and safety pins.  The windows have garnered well-deserved attention, and have been highlighted by Time Out New York as a display to check out.  Also featured are reproductions of select sketches accompanying their resulting contemporary looks, with a description of what the new garment is made from.

Photos taken by Brooklyn Museum Library Volunteer, Liza Drake

The actual Bendel Fashion Sketch Collection contains over 11,000 sketches, organized into 140 boxes and arranged by year, season, and garment type.  See the catalog record for more information on the collection.

In addition, a number of the fashion and costume sketches have been digitized and are available via the "Collections” facet of the Museum’s website.

This is not the first time that these sketches have received attention.  In fact, some of them were displayed previously at the Bendel store in 1998 as part of a larger lecture series celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Apprentices’ Library Association (the predecessor the current Museum Library). They have also been exhibited at the Museum itself, first in April of 1944, for an exhibition entitled French Fashion Sketches from the Henri Bendel Collection [4/27/1944-7/16/1944].  This exhibition showcased the sketches, which had recently been donated to the Museum, in December, 1943, by the Estate of Henri Bendel.  The initial bulk donation was comprised of about 7,500 sketches by many prominent Parisian designers, such as Chanel, Poiret, and Lanvin.  Over the years, until 1961, the Museum continued to receive fashion sketch donations from the Bendel Estate, with the total number now surpassing 11,000.  For more on the donation and exhibition, the 1944 press release for the show is available online.

We are pleased to have been able to collaborate with Henri Bendel on this year’s holiday window display, and encourage anyone in the area to wander by for an up-close look at their amazing costume creations and accompanying sketches!   

Emily Atwater, IMLS M-LEAD II Project Intern Coordinator, Brooklyn Museum


display of Henri Bendel at 721 5th Ave sounds good to everyone. Happy to hear that you guys are pleased to have been able to collaborate with Henri Bendel on this year’s holiday window display,

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