Uncovering the Life and Work of American Fashion Designer, Marguery Bolhagen (1920-2021)

Bridget Kerr
Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice

About this Item

Title
Uncovering the Life and Work of American Fashion Designer, Marguery Bolhagen (1920-2021)
Contributor Names
Kerr, Bridget (Author)
Font, Lourdes (Thesis advisor)
Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice (Degree granting institution)
Date
2023
Degree Information
M.A. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, 2023
Department: Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice
Advisors: Font, Lourdes
Committee members: Davidson, Hilary
Abstract
In their 2022 exhibition entitled In America: An Anthology of Fashion, the Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed a ball gown by Marguery Bolhagen (1920-2021) and utilized a photograph of its installation to advertise their exhibition. The exhibition offered little information on the designer and discussed the client and donor of the dress in greater detail. Little record existed discussing Bolhagen’s work; beyond her role as a ready-to-wear designer for Bergdorf Goodman beginning in 1965, she was relatively unknown. Despite this, her work is held in institutions throughout the United States, including the Met, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Historic Costume and Textiles Collection at Ohio State University. The aim of this paper is to consider her importance to fashion historians and the public.

This qualifying paper uncovers the life and work of American fashion designer Marguery Bolhagen, delving beyond a striking image used to advertise an exhibition, and looking beyond her relationship to her most famous client, Austine Hearst, also known as Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Jr. Drawing from fashion press research, object-based study, and interviews with descendants of the designer, this paper is organized into two chapters. The first chapter discusses the life of the designer chronologically from birth to death, with focus on her work in the fashion industry. The second chapter is dedicated to an examination of six objects by Bolhagen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. The paper concludes with a discussion of the challenges presented when conducting this research, and further research avenues to be pursued. Aiming to recognizing the work of a female couturier amongst her male contemporaries, this paper contextualizes Marguery Bolhagen as an American fashion designer in the twentieth century.
Keywords: 20th century fashion; American designer; Bergdorf Goodman; Charles James; Fashion designer; Marguery Bolhagen
Subject
Fashion
History
Design
20th century
United States
Designer
Bergdorf Goodman (New York, N.Y.)
James, Charles, 1906-1978
Fashion designers
Bolhagen, Marguery
Rights
In Copyright
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Identifier
FIT Repository ID: etd_000938
ISBN: 9798379899424
pqdiss: 30493602
Related Materials
Also available from ProQuest
Type
Text
Thesis
Language
English
Publisher
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses

Citation

Kerr, B. (2023). Uncovering the Life and Work of American Fashion Designer, Marguery Bolhagen (1920-2021) [Master's thesis, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York]. FIT Institutional Repository. https://institutionalrepository.fitnyc.edu/item/120797
Kerr, Bridget. Uncovering the Life and Work of American Fashion Designer, Marguery Bolhagen (1920-2021). 2023. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, Master's thesis. FIT Digital Repository, https://institutionalrepository.fitnyc.edu/item/120797
Kerr, Bridget. "Uncovering the Life and Work of American Fashion Designer, Marguery Bolhagen (1920-2021)." Master's thesis, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, 2023. https://institutionalrepository.fitnyc.edu/item/120797