CGW is a club for amateurs and professionals who like to make historical, science fiction, or fantasy costumes.

Helen Larsen Collection at FIDM

Access to the Helen Larsen Collection

What is the Helen Larsen Collection?

The Helen Larsen Collection at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles has acquired a major collection of historically important women’s, men’s, and children’s fashions, dating from 1600 to 1950. Follow the link for more details on the acquisition.

What does CGW have to do with it?

Amongst the Objectives of Costumer’s Guild West, we are committed to promoting the educational and cultural advancement of costume design and construction in our community. In late December 2012 FIDM gratefully accepted the first installment of $10,000 in what was a total commitment of $30,000 toward the purchase of the Helen Larsen Collection. As part of the acknowledgement of this contribution, FIDM is making the collection available to CGW members for research.

I’m not a professional or an educator. Why would I want to do research in the collection?

Have you ever been looking at a picture online or gone to a museum exhibit to see a dress, but you can’t see the back? Or you can’t determine the fabric? Or you can’t quite make out the trim details? This is your opportunity to really find out all those details. You will be able to make an appointment to see items in person. With the help of the FIDM Museum curators, you will be able to see the details on the inside of these garments in person. If you wanted to recreate an item in the collection, you would be able to do so with the greatest of accuracy!

I’m so excited! How do I arrange for an appointment?

Any CGW member with an up-to-date membership can make an appointment. Just log in with your CGW login, hover your mouse over the Members Only button in the menu (or tap if you’re on a mobile device), then click on the FIDM Research Access link.

How do I become a member?

Here’s the link to join.