Stylish send-off scheduled for Ford House exhibition – C&G Newspapers

Posted October 5, 2016

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The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House will close the run of “Women Who Motor” with a dinner and a vintage fashion show.

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House is closing out its “Women Who Motor” exhibition on a fashion-forward note.

“Women Who Motor” — which has been on display in the garage since 2014 — will conclude with a period fashion show and gourmet dinner from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 15. 

Titled “Fashion Through the Decades: A Vintage Fashion Show,” the multimedia event will include a narrated fashion show highlighting clothing from the early years of the automobile through the 1960s, with information about why the clothes were designed a particular way. “Women Who Motor” is divided into three time periods: the Early Years (1885-1945), the Post-War Years (1946-1964), and the Modern Era (1965-today).

“It’s the last hurrah for the exhibit,” said Colin Bowyer, communications and community outreach specialist for the Ford House. 

The fashion show has been organized by the creators of the touring exhibition “Fashion and the Automobile.”

“The fashion show is a virtual drive down memory lane, an entertaining look at the relationship between fashion and automotive design by decade, and how both were influenced by function, environment, lifestyle and world events,” said Victoria Mobley, creator and curator of “Fashion and the Automobile,” in a prepared statement. “We also show the U-turns that each decade takes, as what’s old becomes new again.”

Gretchen Abrams, education programs coordinator at the Ford House, said the fashion show is being geared to the exhibition. Attendees will receive a copy of a book of driving etiquette from 1980 written by Anne and Charlotte Ford, which is itself a fun blast from the past. In addition, Dean Martin sound-alike Steve London will perform songs from the 1960s.

Attendees are welcome to come attired in vintage fashion or something right off the current runways, if they so choose; Abrams said unique fashion choices like retro outfits “definitely would be fabulous and fun.”

“Certainly, there is no dress code,” she said. “Come as you are. Express yourself.”

The decision to end “Women Who Motor” with an evening that combines fashion and history is fitting, since the exhibition includes driving clothes for women. The exhibition demonstrates “the impact of cars on women’s roles in society and the impact of women on cars,” Abrams said. “The car gave them independence, and (female drivers) also changed cars.” 

Comfortable seats, safety features and easier steering mechanisms were some of the changes made to vehicles to entice female drivers, but they ended up improving the automobile for all motorists.

Those who sign up for the fashion show will get a tour of the exhibition as well, giving people who haven’t seen “Women Who Motor” one last chance to get a look at unique artifacts such as the 1914 Detroit Electric once owned and driven by Helen Newberry Joy, wife of Henry Joy, the Packard Motor Car Co. president, and a pink raincoat and hat that came with — and matched — the pink Dodge LeFemme car, which was produced for women from 1955 to 1956.

Tickets for this event cost $50 for Ford House members and $55 for nonmembers. Reservations need to be made by Oct. 12. Admission to “Women Who Motor” alone between now and Oct. 15 is included with a regular house tour or grounds pass. The Ford House is located at 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores, between Vernier and Nine Mile roads. For reservations or more information, call (313) 884-4222 or visit

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