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The Gilded Age at Fort Hunter Fashion Exhibit
May 1, 2022 @ 10:00 am - December 23, 2022 @ 4:30 pm
All that glitters is not gold, or is it? Extending from the 1870’s to 1900, between the Civil War and the turn of the Twentieth Century, the American Gilded Age was a time of rapid economic and industrial growth in the United States and a time of serious poverty and social problems as well. Glittering on the surface but corrupt underneath.
The current, popular HBO series “The Gilded Age” focuses on the intrigue and drama of the upper-class families of New York City, showing fabulous women’s attire of the time. Helen and John Reily lived at Fort Hunter Mansion during this time period, from their marriage in 1886 until their deaths in the 1927 and 1932. Eleven dresses worn by Helen Reily during this time period will be on display for this exhibit.
An added feature of interest – a prominent figure in the HBO show is Ward McAllister, played by Nathan Lane. Ward was a real-life person who was the arbiter of good taste in New York society, advisor to Lady Astor. In real life, Ward McAllister was a great, great nephew of Fort Hunter’s builder, Archibald McAllister. Fort Hunter’s claim to fame!
Exhibit mannequins are often featureless and without hair. Fort Hunter is fortunate to have real, human hair wigs depicting the latest fashions in hairstyles of the late 1800’s high society on the mannequin heads.
Thanks to Ashley Leitzel-Reichenbach, the Fort Hunter exhibit has professional wigs that truly reflect the hairstyles of the time and bring the exhibit to life. Ashley just finished the season as Head Hair Design for the TV show “Bull” and also currently works on the “The Gilded Age”. Fort Hunter is honored to have such television royalty contributing to the exhibit. Many thanks to Ashley for giving her time and tremendous talent to bring the Fort Hunter mannequins to life, the hair really does make the exhibit.