In the right light: Cleveland History Center hosts Fashion After Dark exhibit


In the 19th century, the invention of gas lighting brought eveningwear to life in an otherworldly way that oil lamps or candles could not provide.

Imagine a visual feast of shimmering silks, dazzling sequins, and sparkling gemstones. Daylight stood in such stark contrast to the gaslight that some shops even offered specially lit rooms for choosing silks and style writers recommended the best colors and fabrics for gaslight.

Today, Thursday, Sept. 21, The Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) will open its Fashion After Dark exhibit—simulating the atmosphere of an evening on Euclid Avenue through fashion, interiors, lighting, and sound.

Each room of the exhibit features a different time period and theme to bring the story of fashion and lighting to life. It explores the relationship between fashion and artificial light, beginning with the introduction of gas in Cleveland during the 1840s.

Fashion After Dark runs through June 30, 2024, with an opening reception tonight, Thursday, Sept. 21, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Cleveland History Center, 10825 East Blvd. in University Circle.

Tickets to the event cost $20 for WRHS members, $40 for nonmembers and include hors d’oeuvres, open bar, a tour of the exhibit, and general access to museum galleries.