Philly’s best-kept secret may very well be Drexel’s Historic Costume Collection, a museum-quality cache of garments and accessories (more than 1,200 of them) that date as far back as the 16th century. (So, yeah, pretty old.) The collection is housed in a 3,000-square-foot space in the Westphal College’s URBN Center, but you previously couldn’t check it out unless you’d made an appointment or were conducting some sort of research. The closed-off nature of the collection was a shame, sort of like pristine, vintage-upholstered sofas covered in plastic: You know it’s there and probably pretty, but it’s a pain to see. And weirdly sticky to sit on.
Thankfully, Drexel is finally opening up its collection to us non-researching, non-appointment-making plebeians. On Friday, October 25th, the Costume Collection launches ‘Fashion Fridays,’ a quarterly event featuring a seminar (the first one is on 1920s fashion!) and tour of the collection. Tickets are $100—hey, they include lunch—and you’ll get to peek at some of the most fantastic garments you’ve ever seen, like the circa-1927 day dress from French couture house Callot Souers pictured above. Buy tickets here (Drexel alums get a discounted price of $85) and be prepared to wish you lived in another century.