This article originally appeared in Where GuestBook: Arizona 2017


Most people think of New York, Paris and Milan when they imagine the world’s fashion capitals. But fashionistas can find a dedicated fashion design gallery in the heart of Phoenix. The Phoenix Art Museum, the largest art museum int he Southwest—drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors yearly—is home to the Arizona Costume Institute, and retains a collection of more than 7,000 fashion objets dating from the 18th century to the present as part of its Fashion Design Department.

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The Arizona Costume Institute was originally founded in 1966 as a way to support the new Fashion Design Department at a time when fashion was not always seen as an art form. The museum continued to grow the collection, opening the Kelly Ellman Gallery in 2006.

in addition to the permanent collection, the Kelly Ellman Fashion Design Gallery enables the museum to showcase two exhibitions a year. Dennita Sewell has been curator of fashion design since January 2000, when she came to Phoenix from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

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