Clothing exhibit

Costume Exhibit, Paris Exposition, 1889, Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-102651

This page discusses the impact of the 1889 Paris Fair on Fashion of the time or vice versa.

Belle Epoque

Fair Performers

Performers are often an invaluable source for fashion of an era as they are most likely to be photographed or painted due to their popularity. While their costumes are often over-exaggerated versions of current garb of the times, they often based them on popular societal notions of what people expected to see.


Buffalo Bill photo taken at 1889 Paris World Fair

Eiffel's tower : and the World's Fair where Buffalo Bill beguiled Paris, the artists quarreled, and Thomas Edison became a count

Abstract: This book highlights some of the performers at the fair, like Buffalo bill and Annie Oakley, and shows them in their performing clothes. Complete metadata available by clicking on book title.

Costume Exhibit

The costume exhibit was an offshoot of the village nègre or "human zoo," as it was more popularly called. There was a very thin line between a human zoo and a freak show of the time and they were usually the same thing with a friendlier name (P.T. Barnum is credited with the first "exhibition" ofJoice Heth in 1835).  Similar to performers, these indigenous people were a curiosity and photographed regularly, giving us a unique view of the world through clothing. Visited by 28 million people, the 1889 World's Fair displayed 400 indigenous people as the major attraction. (Taken from Human Zoo source)

Human Zoo

Creator: Fauser, Annegret.

Language: English.

Unique identifiers:

Abstract: This web document gives a detailed history of the human zoo and the various events it was presented at, including multiple world fairs. There is a substantial bibliography at the end of the article discussing examples and social issues.


Actor from Theatre Annamite, full-length portrait, in costume, Paris Exposition, 1889, Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-109510


Female Javanese dancer, full-length portrait, seated, in costume, Paris Exposition, 1889, Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-109527

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