Decades of Dress features ageless fashion

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published May 27, 2015


ROCHESTER HILLS —  An upcoming Meadow Brook Hall event will celebrate Matilda Dodge Wilson’s flair for fashion.

The hall is teaming with Neiman Marcus to present Decades of Dress, a luncheon fashion show paired with a historic costume exhibit.

“Fashion always takes cues from previous decades,” said Lindsey Barile, Neiman Marcus public relations manager. “Good fashion is timeless.”

Barile said the Neiman Marcus show will feature ready-to-wear styles that evoke the Victorian era and items reminiscent of later decades.

“The new bohemian is an ode to the 1960s and 1970s flower child style,” Barile said. “We’ll also have an an ode to Victorian fashion, with ruffles and lace, which is a very lush and lavish way of dressing.”

The MBH costume exhibit will feature 10 dresses of Matilda Dodge Wilson and her daughter, Barbara.

“Some of the dresses are of an art deco style that came back in fashion in the 1960s,” said Kim Zelinski, MBH director of museum operations.

All proceeds from Decades of Dress will support MBH conservation efforts. Proceeds from last year’s fashion event were used to conserve two historic dresses.

“Two dresses from the 1920s,” Zelinski said. “One is a flapper dress.”

Conserving historic clothing is a tedious process, she said.

“You don’t replace; you re-attach with netting behind it to stabilize it. Not a lot of people do this work.”

Decades of Dress will be held in various areas of Meadow Brook Hall and its gardens.

“First, you’ll walk through the house and see the historic dresses on display in the dining room,” Zelinski said. A fashion show in the hall tent will follow, along with a reception and raffle in the Pegasus garden.

“It’s a great ladies’ day out, with everything women like to do — socialize, eat lunch and see fashion,” Zelinski said. 

The opulent former home of Matilda and Alfred Wilson is a National Historic Landmark. Matilda Dodge Wilson was the widow of John Dodge — co-founder of the Dodge Brothers Motor Car Co. The 88,000-square-foot mansion, which has 110 rooms, was built in the 1920s and is located on the campus of Oakland University, off Adams Road, south of Walton Boulevard.

Meadow Brook Hall is fully self-funded, relying on special events for the preservation and interpretation of the historic estate.

Decades of Dress revenues will also support the newly introduced Adopt an Artifact program, aimed at preserving ailing Hall objects in specific rooms.

Decades of Dress will be held from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. June 11. Tickets cost $125 each, and reservations are required.

For more information or reservations, contact Lauren at or call (248) 364-6264.