Historical society’s Costume Council celebrates 20 years


On Sept. 17, the San Diego Historical Society’s Costume Council will celebrate its 20th anniversary in style, literally. The important milestone is being marked with a major exhibition, “San Diego Style,” which will open at the Museum of San Diego History in October.

As a prelude to the display, the Fabulous Fashions soiree will feature 200 ensembles from the city’s most stylish women, put together by the Costume Council’s Steering Committee. The council, which raises money for the preservation and exhibition of the collection, also sponsors public programs such as lectures and bus trips.

According to David M. Kahn, executive director of the San Diego Historical Society, the council invited three costume historians to review their collection and help establish priorities for future collecting and exhibition ideas.

“Historian Tim Long, from the Chicago Historical Society, was very excited about the extensive amount of high-style fashion in our collection that dates from the late 19th century to the present,” Kahn said. “So we decided that highlighting that particular strength of the collection would make sense for the Costume Council’s 20th anniversary.”

The Fabulous Fashions benefit will not just serve as eye candy; it will also remind San Diegans of the Costume Council’s important work over the years.

“It has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help preserve and display the historical society’s great collection,” Kahn said.

A group of advisers compiled the list of women who were invited to loan ensembles for the evening, according to Kahn. Steering Committee member Pam Palisoul describes the outfits that will be on display at the party as “fabulous” and “empowering.”

“We have a great leather jacket coming in, as well as a bathing suit one of the women was wearing when she met her husband,” Palisoul said. “Many of the clothes on display made these women feel all-conquering and strong. It’s really about a journey back to the past for people.”

Women were encouraged to submit a wide variety of clothing items, but in particular, focused on clothing that represents a moment in time and has sentimental value.

“They say that the clothes make the man, but the man is still underneath the clothes,” Palisoul said. “It sure does give you a boost when you wear something nice, though.”

‘Fabulous Fashions’

• Sept. 17

• 5 to 7:30 p.m.

• The Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park

• (619) 232-6203, ext. 102