The curtain is going up on a fashion exhibition at the African American Museum in Philadelphia that is not only a snapshot of women’s clothing from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. It is an up-close and personal collection of costumes belonging to legendary singer Mary Wilson, a member of the Motown hit machine, the Supremes.
The items that will take center stage at the museum starting January 25th are as famous as some of the Supremes’ hits including “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “You Can’t Hurry Love.” The collection of 30 dresses courtesy of Wilson represent the earliest fashions the group purchased off-the-rack at Detroit area stores to the more elaborate sequins, boas, beaded bodice gowns that were custom made for the trio by designers Bob Mackie and Michael Travis just to name a few.
“Come See About Me: The Mary Wilson Supremes Collection” has been featured at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland and has traveled to several other museums in the United States and England. The Philadelphia exhibition will be staged with a backdrop of video footage of Wilson, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, along with gold records, and album covers from the Supremes’ heyday that launched in 1959 and played through 1977.
One of the dazzling gowns on display will be the “Black Butterfly” designed by Mackie as well as a handful of dresses the trio wore when they appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” including one of Wilson’s favorites, a hot-pink chiffon gown with rhinestones that was affectionately known as “Sullivan’s Delight.”
Wilson became the keeper of the togs claiming that the dresses just happened to fall into her lap. She says she inherited the dresses as each member of the group retired from the Supremes.
So whether you are a music enthusiast, a baby boomer, a history buff or a fashionista, you are invited to “Run, Run, Run” and see the fashion, hear the music and live the memories of the Supremes, 50 years after they first hit the record charts at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. The show runs through June 30th.