Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen

About the Exhibition 

This exhibition, drawn from the collection at Kent State Museum, features a range of costumes and fashions that were instrumental in shaping some of the most memorable characters portrayed on stage or screen by acclaimed actress Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003). Included in the exhibition are costumes from the stage productions of The Philadelphia Story (1939), Without Love (1942) and Coco (1969), classic films including Adam’s Rib (1949), Stage Door (1937) and Long Day’s Journey into Night (1962), and many of her television movies, such as Love Among the Ruins (1975). Additionally, Hepburn’s “signature look,” an ensemble of tailored beige trousers and linen jackets, will be featured along with vintage posters, playbills, photos, and other ephemera that illustrate Hepburn’s long career. The collection spans over five decades of the star's career in the theater, movies, and television—from the 1933 play The Lake to the 1986 television movie Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry.

More About Katharine Hepburn

One of the most iconic stars of the 20th century, Hepburn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress 12 times—winning four. In addition to her stellar career on stage and screen, Hepburn became known for her distinct style—wearing trousers at a time when it still raised eyebrows. Her personal preference for relaxed, casual but chic clothing led to a 1985 Lifetime Achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. On screen or on stage, Hepburn's keen awareness not only of what looked good on her, but also of how those clothes helped define the characters she played, contributed to dream collaborations with some of the profession's most gifted designers. She had a particular affinity for Walter Plunkett and Valentina, artists who understood how to complement her slender, model-like frame, and sublime examples of these designers' work are among the costumes featured.

Lent by the Kent State University Museum.
Program Information

Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen

Dates: November 16, 2019 - January 12, 2020
Location: The Frick Art Museum
Motley, designed by Sophie Devine (1901-1966), costume Hepburn as "Mary Tyrone" in Long Day’s Journey into Night (1962), Embassy Pictures, KSUM 2010.12.9, Gift of the Estate of Katharine Hepburn.

Walter Plunkett (1902–1892), costume for Hepburn as “Amanda Bonner” in Adam’s Rib (1949), MGM, KSUM 2010.12.4, Gift of the Estate of Katharine Hepburn.

Valentina Schlee (1899?–1989), costume for Hepburn as “Jamie Coe Rowan” in Without Love (1942) (stage production), KSUM 2010.12.62, Gift of the Estate of Katharine Hepburn.

Howard Greer (American, 1896–1974), costume for Hepburn as "Stella Sturge" in The Lake (1934), KSUM 2010.12.53, Gift of the Estate of Katharine Hepburn.
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