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 2014-2016:    

 2014-2015 ACI Highlights

  • ACI orchestrated monthly educational lectures through the Program’s Committee by working in tandem with Curator Dennita Sewell’s vast array of fashion oriented contacts, bringing local and national speakers to the museum’s Whiteman Hall.  Many of these speakers had book publications exposing ACI members to personal contact and conversation with a variety of fashion experts and industry insiders.    

  • ACI supported the fall Ellman Fashion Gallery exhibition, Fashioned in American, organizing and financially sponsoring the Opening Evening Reception, as well as the springexhibit Opening Reception for Pattern Play.   

  • ACI’s Holiday Luncheon is the organization’s major fundraising event held each year in December.  The 2014 soiree provided luncheon participants with guest speaker Freddie Leiba, New York stylist. This part year’s decadent event, established in 1966 has become a must attend Sonoran Valley holiday tradition, and was scheduled for Tuesday, December 8, 2015.  

  • ACI has increased its membership to 344+, a 30% increase surpassing the original goal of 10% for the year, which includes a 98% increase in Nouveau membership whose members are aged 35 and younger.

  • The Membership Committee acted as welcoming ambassadors at each ACI luncheon/lecture, held special events for new ACI members, which included a tour of the Fashion Design Gallery led by curator Dennita Sewell, and hosted a private reception with valued access to the Dennita and her staff following the tour.   

  • ACI’s 100+ Benefactor level members were invited to a special behind-the-scenes tour of costumes, a ballet rehearsal and reception at the Phoenix Ballet in October 2014 to stimulate interest in ACI and to cordially thank ACI supporters and sponsors.

  • ACI published professionally formatted biannual Newsletters that were distributed to membership by e-blast in the fall and the spring.

  • ACI offered an exclusive trip to London with dynamic access to costume and textile collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Bath Textile Museum, Kensington Palace, Philip Treacy Hats, Zandra Rhodes, the extraordinarily incredible Alexander McQueen Exhibit.  The Farewell to London dinner held at the Lansdowne Club offered an evening of dinner and conversation with guest fashion designer and activist, Dame Vivienne Westwood and her husband Andreas Kronthaler.

  • ACI board governance is integral to getting business done in the proper manner.  With that in mind, a new strategic plan was created and implemented with all goals being met or surpassed.

  • ACI worked with the Fashion Design department to create and sponsor a newly redesigned Membership brochure that offers new tools to promote the organization and provide a more visually appealing image.

  • ACI sponsored the redesign of the ACI website along with newly-designed marketing collateral that was a result of meeting with a professional marketing firm that greatly improved social media and press outreach and digital correspondence.  This financial effort included flyer and email redesign that is used in event promotion that encourages professional branding of the organization.

  • ACI contributed toward the newly purchased Emphatics Collection of over 400 avant-garde garments and ephemera to assist with storage costs, acid free boxes, photography and other related necessities. 

  • The newly elected board formed committees and implemented tasks to carry forward the strategic plans established for 2015-2016 board year creating a smooth transition for outgoing and incoming board members. 

  • 2016 brings into play ACI’s 50th Anniversary.  Those plans have been evolving for the past twelve (12) months in an effort to provide a year of celebration and opportunities to expand knowledge about the ever changing world of fashion.

  • On May 11, 2015 ACI hosted sixteen (16) past presidents to a tea and photography session in connection with the 50th Anniversary.

  • ACI financially supports a portion of the annual salary for the Fashion Design department’s curator assistant, and sponsored her trip to London in April with other ACI members.

  • 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.  

  • In summary, ACI had an extremely productive and dynamic year and is poised for success in 2015-2016.  We held the first board meeting of the 2015-2016 board year on Wed., June 10, 2015. 

  • Acquisition honoring the 50th Anniversary of ACI and the Museum’s Fashion Collection, purchased Iris Van Herpen garment.

  • Sponsorship of White Shirt According to Me:  Gianfranco Ferre’exhibit

  • Sponsored a New Member’s evening and wine and reception in November 2015

  • Organized Holiday Luncheon fundraising event, featuring fashion icon, Fern Mallis

  • Sponsored monthly 2nd Wednesday high profile programming with nationally recognized fashion industry insiders, Patricia Underwood, Laura Helms, Dana Thomas, Merle Seacrest, Teri Agins, Hal Rubenstein, Badgley-Mischka.

  • Offered Storytelling Workshops surrounding the 50th Anniversary.

  • Sponsored the reception following the Italian Master of Fashion Symposium including Tatianna Sorokko, Ralph Rucci, the Italian team in October.  

  • Sponsoring 50th Anniversary Ellman Gallery exhibit,  Defining Moments:  Fifty Years of Fashion at the Phoenix Art Museum.

  • April 1, 50th sponsorship dinner at Hanger One.

  • April 2 community event and Ellman Gallery Opening Reception celebrating Defining Moments:  Fifty Years of Fashion at the Phoenix Art Museum, a cocktail party with a band, celebrity high profile, nationally acclaimed fashion professionals, appetizers, no host bar –record breaking Opening at 740, a record breaking registration.

  • Organized a monthly Book Club which meets to discuss history of fashion design, topics about textiles, designers, many of whom spoke to ACI sponsored 2nd Wednesday monthly lectures.  Provides continuing education surrounding fashion related topics including design, textiles, historical perspectives, and cultural values of garments.  Book signing and personal conversation followed the lectures.

  • Sponsoring 2 benefactor events, one was in November at the Phoenix Ballet,  and a second will be held on March 14, 2016, David Wright House reception, Sunset and Champagne cocktail party with two (2) time Tony nominee and set designer Alexander Dodge.

  • Contracted with the museum to restructure ACI accounting procedures.

  • Sponsored travel expenses for Dennita, important national and international outreach for the fashion department.

  • Oversaw events for the 50th, including details for coordination, sponsorships, ideas to draw interest.

  • Contracted with museum to oversee ACI Membership administration, includes extensive monthly reports and membership status.

  • Sponsored partial salary for Programs and Communications Manager, Fashion

  • Sponsored stipend/intern Hannah Gur-Arie

  • Increased Nouveau membership (35 and under) to 30 + members, currently

  • Continue to maintain consistent membership of over 300

  • Along with AZ Republic, Nouveau organize a Storytelling event for March 2, 2016 sponsoring the event reception for the evening

  • ACI continued over-site in collaboration with the department of the ACI website, flyer outreach, handouts and event invitations for exhibits, fashion related museum events, the Holiday Luncheon and the April 2, 50th Community celebration.

And, these are just the highlights! 

Stellar moments of ACI accomplishments from 2016-2017 ACI Board of Directors

Terri Haston:  I'm most proud of the successful record breaking ACI events; including Holiday Luncheon, 50th Anniversary party and exhibit, and the White Shirt Exhibit.  Of course it was fun to launch the Book Club, the members seem to be excited and interested in learning more about fashion, the history, and behind the scenes details. But, THE most FUN ACI event was our trip to London in 2015!  Enjoyed making great friends, seeing historical garments, and the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit at the V and A.  Sorry---I just can't chose ONE!!

Shelly Dessen:  I was gratified that as the RSVP Chair, I could interact on a one to one basis with ACI members as well as the general public answering questions, solving problems and promoting ACI.

Pat Nulman:  Membership held a "Committee Expo" at the April 2nd Wed. Luncheon, explaining the ACI Committees to interested members.  Over 20 members signed up! Kudos to Diana Lamb for the brilliant idea! We intend to do this annually so that members who wish to get involved have this "expo" to look forward to.

Barbara KammerzeIl:  I will have to say unequivocally that the one accomplishment I am most proud of is the April 2nd Opening event of Defining Moments:  Fifty Years of Fashion. One of Dennita’s goals since we started celebrating Exhibit Openings was to have them be inclusive of the community. I think we can truly say that we achieved that goal on April 2nd.

Mary Jefferies:  The partnership with the museum's accounting department has been a success. Each month showed more efficiency as we all got to know each other's strengths. I am proud in having been part of the team effort to begin this transition.

Adrienne Schiffner:  I very proud of the outcome of the two Benefactor events! Of course, I am most proud of the fact that we finally polished off the private stock of champagne!!

Ronna Beeson:  As Holiday Luncheon Chair 2015 I am most proud of my committee and their accomplishment in creating such an event.  Holiday Luncheon committee members each contributed their time, ideas, opinions, and hard work, in not only their subcommittee but also in the committee has a whole.  These contributions along with the camaraderie they shared made the Holiday Luncheon a success and pleasure to work on!

Lindsey Enyart:  I am most proud of the December 6 Nouveau reception participation.  Great interest in ACI was generated by the 35 and under group that evening with garments displayed from the museum Collection.

Kathie May:  Chair Nominations Committee-I am proud to have created a Nomination committee membership where the decisions were made through democratic governance with clear goals and objectives to submit a diverse board of directors for 2016-17.  Member-at-Large and Program Committee Member- Assisted with creating a welcoming environment for members and new members at each luncheon. Co-Chair Strategic Planning-Assisted with a strategic planning session which welcomed and invited open communication.