GINGER ROGERS: DRESSED TO IMPRESS
State Historical Society of Missouri Center for Missouri Studies
Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection
Department of Textile and Apparel Management
College of Arts and Science
University of Missouri
Ginger Rogers: A History
Exhibition curated by Nicole Johnston of the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection, University of Missouri. Assisted by Dr. Joan Stack, Curator of Art Collections, State Historical Society of Missouri and Sarah Lawrence, Collection Assistant, University of Missouri.
Legendary Academy-Award winning performer and Missouri native Ginger Rogers (1911-1995) maintained one of the longest successful – and stylish – careers in entertainment that spanned over six decades from the 1920s to 1984, successfully transitioning across film, television, stage, and radio. The MHCTC celebrates this career and a new collection of Rogers costume and archives in a series of events – film, exhibition and gala – that explores Rogers’ understanding of the complex relationship between dress, the body and the viewer experience. Ginger Rogers used clothing to strategically craft a persona throughout her lifelong career that would be perfectly identified in a 1969 television interview when Merv Griffin commented to Ginger, ‘Well, don’t you look “Ginger Rogers!’”
Rogers’ unique sense of style continues to impress and inspire design students today through unique creative scholarship in the Department of Textile and Apparel Management at the University of Missouri. Undergraduate students in six TAM classes over the course of two years designed unique garments inspired by Rogers’ incredible costume and career. An array of these collaborative student designs are included in both physical and virtual exhibitions.
GINGER ROGERS COSTUME COLLECTION
All of Ginger Rogers’ clothing on exhibit was gifted to the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection (MHCTC) in the Department of Textile and Apparel Management (TAM) by two individuals: Roberta Olden, Rogers’ personal assistant from 1977 to 1991, and Marge Padgitt, founder of the Owens-Rogers House Museum in Rogers’ birth home in Independence, Missouri. As the steward of much of Rogers’ costume and clothing, Olden selected the MHCTC as the permanent home for garments carefully curated over the last two years from Rogers’ nightclub revue and stage career. In 2021, Olden was referred to the MHCTC by Marge Padgitt who also gifted a variety of clothing, magazines and other media from her own curated collection. These gifts became an opportunity to introduce Rogers’ iconic fashion and talent to a younger generation of college students and showcase the University’s unique research opportunities and creative design scholarship to broader national and international audiences.
GINGER ROGERS ARCHIVE COLLECTION
GINGER ROGERS PROJECTS
Over the past two years, students in six TAM courses were introduced to Ginger Rogers, many for the first time. Highlighted in the exhibition and in the virtual exhibit are over fifty garment and textile designs inspired by Rogers’ fashion and legendary career. Classroom projects were directed by Dr. Kerri McBee-Black, Cheyenne Smith and Graduate Instructor Mackenzie Miller.
GINGER ROGERS PROJECT: TAM 2280
GINGER ROGERS PROJECT: TAM 2380
GINGER ROGERS PROJECT: TAM 2580