Rattlesnake skin jacket, 1946
Made by a Mr. Payne for Bert Wallace from rattlesnakes he trapped in 1944 on the O-Bar-o Ranch in Kent Co. He was a Trapper for the Federal Government at the time. Given to the Museum of Texas Tech University in 1963. The reason I like this coat is the fact that it is snake skin and the time and effort that went into making this jacket.
CHANEL, Two-Piece Wool Suit, 1960s
When I think of Chanel, I imagine stark black and white contrasts in boxy silhouettes, metallic and pearl accessories, and heavy wool blends. Mix these together and you have a recipe for the perfect Chanel suit.
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, the founder and namesake to the fashion house, turned the industry on its head with her androgynous approach to women’s clothing. She emphasized comfort and simplicity in all her designs and dared to utilize men’s clothing as inspiration. This 1960s, two-piece, wool suit represents the core ideals of all Chanel creations by playfully intermixing traditional feminine and masculine shapes. The form-fitted, mid-knee length skirt offsets the prominent shoulder structure of the jacket. Buttons on the cuffs and center closure are emblazoned with the classic double “C’s”.
The suit embodies not only the innovative character of all Chanel fabrications, but sets the bar for quality workmanship and design.
Maroon, Felt Cloche Hat, 1920s
This burgundy cloche hat attracted my attention because of its color and style. This style of hat was most popular in the 1920s, and most associated with the Flapper style of the Roaring Twenties.
The cloche hat (cloche is the French word for “bell”) is a bell-shaped, fitted design invented by milliner Caroline Reboux in 1908, and continued to be commonly seen until the early 1930s. Cloche hats were usually made of felt so that they better conformed to the head and were worn low on the forehead. The style also inspired new hairstyles of the time, such as the Eton crop and the bob, to best showcase the hat’s shape. The cloche could also be made of straw or sisal for summer, and beads or lace for evening wear, cocktails, dancing or bridal wear.
The maroon cloche hat in the Museum of Texas Tech Collections has a lighter-hued maroon grosgrain ribbon trim, and is lined with light tan fabric.
Brick and Beige Striped Paisley with Brown Velvet Trim Dress, 1875-1876
This dress caught my interest immediately because of its multiple design elements. Made for a woman, who could be only five feet tall at the most, this dress encompasses many different embellishments. The piece was made between 1875-1876 yet, it is in excellent condition. The green, beige, and orange striped paisley print itself is eye-catching. Then added on top are brown velvet bows, a row of buttons, a trimmed ruffle on each side, a bustle, a collar, button-trimmed pockets, and cuffs. For this look, more is more. It took a bold, confident woman to wear this dress.
Detail of Bodice
Beaded and Jeweled White Chiffon Evening Dress, 1920s
When I first started working here, I was fascinated with the museum’s impressive collection of beaded flapper dress, this one stood out to me. It is one of the objects that I show on collection tours, not only for its beauty and its good condition, but because it weighs so much. This white chiffon evening dress carries an impressive SEVEN pounds of rhinestones and bugle beads! How this dress has been able to survive 90 years with the weight of those rhinestones and beads not ripping the dress apart is incredible. It also is one of the two flapper dresses in the collection that has its original headband.