NFA to display inaugural gowns

Shayla Waugh

Shayla Waugh

The inaugural gowns of South Dakota’s First Ladies, including President Peggy Gordon Miller’s and Rep. Stephanie Herseth’s inanugural outfits, will be on display at SDSU beginning Nov. 5.

The exhibit titled “Stepping Up: South Dakota Women Dress for Inauguration” spans from 1949 to 2003.

“The exhibit is great for SDSU because we definitely need more events from the apparel merchandising department and this is a great event to attract the attention to the department,” said Rachelle Amdahl, a sophomore apparel merchandising major.

Jane Hegland, head of the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, said the highlight of the exhibit will be the swearing-in suits of Stephanie Herseth, South Dakota’s first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and Dr. Peggy Gordon Miller, the first woman named president of SDSU.

“Traditionally the gowns were worn by women who were married to those in positions of leadership, the articles worn by Rep. Herseth and President Miller show women’s movement into the positions of leadership,” Hegland said. “That is not to say that the first ladies have not also given leadership in many important ways. One example is of First Lady Rounds in her several initiatives, which showed a great deal of leadership.”

Also featured in the exhibit are select gowns of South Dakota First Ladies worn to gubernatorial inaugurations. Included is the gown of Jean Rounds, which was worn to the inauguration of her husband, Gov. Mike Rounds, in 2003. Others include the gowns of Eleanor McGovern and Muriel Humphrey worn at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961. The apparel spans from 1949 to 2003.

“An interesting way of looking through history is through the styles of clothing,” Hegland said. “This shows the differences of fashion ideals and provides an altered perspective for the younger and older generations.”

The exhibit will be in the Helen Van Zante Gallery, located in room 222 of the NFA Building. Items will also be presented in display cases near the gallery. The exhibit is set to run from Nov. 5 to Feb. 4, 2005. It will be open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free to students and to the public.

#1.885730:603139234.jpg:governersdressusethisone.jpg:The wrap and gown, left, were worn by Eleanor McGovern at John F. Kenndy´s inaugural ball and Ellen Kelsey wore the gown on the right at Gov. Joe Foss´s inauguration.:James Searls