MISSION STATEMENT:  Arizona Costume Institute promotes the appreciation and understanding of fashion design through the acquisition and preservation of works of historical and aesthetic significance, educational programs and exhibition support for Phoenix Art Museum’s Fashion Design Department.

ACI provides many aspects of service in support of its mission statement.  The ACI Board of Directors has worked tirelessly to bring about outstanding opportunities with well managed strategic planning.  Here are some of the highlights of the past year from ACI Board of Directors President, Kathie May.    

 2018-2019 ACI Highlights

  • Annual support of digital Vogue Archives: ACI sponsors a yearly subscription for the digital Vogue Archives, which is made available to the public by accessing the information in Phoenix Art Museum’s Lemon Research Library.  This access provides historical fashion and style research for international, national and local professionals and students representing a wide range of interests. 

  • 2018-2019 Acquisitions: Through generous donations and formal fundraising ACI purchased Iris Van Herpen, Gucci, and Comme des Garçons garments to assist with exhibitions, storage costs, acid free boxes, photography and other related necessities.

  • February 24 – May 13, 2018:  Iris Van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, surveys fifteen (15) collections of the dynamic, innovative work of Dutch designer Iris van Herpen. The exhibition included the 2015 acquisition of an Iris Van Herpen 3D printed garment, purchased with ACI support. Renowned for her use of 3-D printing, Van Herpen is widely considered one of contemporary fashion’s most progressive creators, and is a favored designer of style icons, including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Björk, Cara Delevingne, and others.

    • February 2018: ACI sponsored the Iris Van Herpen, Opening Evening Reception on February 22, 2018 for ACI members with a tour and lecture from Fashion Curator Dennita Sewell and Fashion Designer Iris Van Herpen.

  • Through the support of Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona Costume Institute has created an online e-gallery of the archive collection as well an enhanced social media presence.

  • November - December, 2018: ACI made available two (2) tours for the Board of Directors to the Astaire Library of Costumes (included in the Museum's Lemon Art Research Library) which houses many rare books and prints relating to costume and textiles.  These tours will become a Benefactor-level benefit.

  • ACI’s Programming Committee orchestrated monthly educational lectures through the by working in tandem with Dennita Sewell, the Museum's former Jacquie Dorrance Curator of Fashion Design. These events featured a vast array of fashion-oriented presenters, bringing local, national and international speakers to the Museum’s Whiteman Hall.  Many of these speakers had book signings, allowing ACI members to have personal contact and conversation with a variety of fashion experts and industry insiders.

    • October 10, 2018: Stefano Piaggi spoke about Anna Piaggi: Creativity and Passion in Fashion and Beyond.  From 1961 to 1968, she was the fashion editor for Arianna magazine and then became contributing editor to Vogue Italia in the late 1960's.  

    • November 14, 2018: Beth Moore, Style and Fashion News Director at the Hollywood Reporter, presented Women in Fashion: More than Just Pretty Faces.  Drawing from her book “American Runway: 75 Years of Fashion and the Front Row,” Booth Moore lead a discussion about the powerful women who got Fashion Week off the ground.

    • February 2019: Julie Ann Wrigley with Arizona State University Sustainability Consortium joined ACI to discuss fashion sustainability. 

    • March 2019: Timothy Long told engaging stories about living in London as a Fashion Curator and his career as Director of Couture & Luxury Accessories at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

  • December 3, 2018: ACI Holiday Luncheon, the organization’s annual fundraising event. The 2018 soiree brought a financial result netting income of over $120,000 and provided luncheon participants with featured keynote speaker Stephen Jones, who is considered one of the finest milliners of our time and milliner to the British Royals. This magnificent event, established in 1966, has become a must attend holiday tradition. Don’t miss our next Holiday Luncheon scheduled for Monday, December 9, 2019. 

  • Ultra-Contemporary exhibition, October 27, 2018 – March 24, 2019, brought hyper-current fashion to Phoenix Art Museum. Featuring ensembles by renowned designers such as Gucci, Iris van Herpen, Comme des Garçons, and Yeohlee, the multimedia exhibition, which also includes runway-show footage for select collections, which explored how fashion is responding to an increasingly diverse and fluid global society.

  • February 21, 2019, ACI joined with Phoenix Art Museum Circles of Support to host a presentation by Cameron Silver, named one of Time magazine’s 25 Most Influential Names and Faces in Fashion in 2002.

  • April 2018 and April 2019: ACI’s 150 Benefactor-level member invitations for included special fashion icon presentations by New York fashion designers Zhang Toi and Yeohlee Teng and a tour of the Arizona State University Fashion Design Department showcasing student designs and discussions.

  • Flora, April 13, 2019 – August 18, 2019, spanning four centuries, Flora features more than 30 botanical-inspired ensembles and accessories for women, men, and children, tracing the evolution of floral fashions through the ages.  In celebration of this exhibition, ACI is organizing and sponsoring the Opening Evening Reception, April 16 for ACI members with a tour and lecture from Curator Dennita Sewell.  

 Looking Forward to 2019-2020

In 2020, ACI will celebrate its 54th year to fashion preservation and share fashion education.  The continued support of ACI as an affiliate of Phoenix Art Museum will continue to evolve and will continue to celebrate opportunities to expand its knowledge about the ever-changing world of fashion.

The Membership Committee acts as welcoming ambassadors at each ACI luncheon/lecture, and special events with introductions to the history of fashion for new ACI members, which can include a docent-led tour of the Ellman Fashion Gallery.

The newly elected ACI Board has been formulating committees and implementing tasks to carry forward the strategic plans established for the 2019-2020 ACI Board creating a smooth transition for outgoing and incoming board members.  ACI board governance is integral to getting business done in the proper manner.  With that in mind, a strategic plan and implemented goals are considered for each year to determine if they are being met or surpassed.

In summary, ACI celebrates another extremely productive and dynamic year and is poised for success in 2019-2020.  We held the first board meeting of the 2019-2020 board year on Wed., April 10, 2019.