Fashionable Art: Apparel from the 1920s and 1930s will put Art Deco fashions in the spotlight as the featured art exhibition for the annual University of Saint Francis Presidential Gala. The gala opens Saturday, September 8 from 6-9 p.m. in the Weatherhead Gallery of the Mimi and Ian Rolland Center for Art and Visual Communication off Leesburg Road. The opening is free and open to the public. The exhibition runs through October 12.

As a backdrop to the pristine examples of Art Deco gowns from a private art collection, the gala opening will feature band music from the historical period and a display of fashion accessories in the Goldfish Gallery. A timeline of events will correspond with the dresses to keep the fashions in historical perspective, with QR codes for smart phones linking to a Tumblr site with more information, pictures, videos and posters from the era.

The Spotlight Gallery will feature poster designs from John Souder, the local artist who has designed the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival posters for decades. Souder’s posters depict the gleaming paint, shiny chrome and sleek lines of the classic cars built by Auburn Automobile Co., often paired with the female fashions and silhouettes of the time.

The fashions represent a time of immense social change for women, as presented through women’s fashions of then-decadent styles and radical applications of creative movements. Historically, the ’20s and ’30s exploded with exuberance in design, steering away from the more stilted attitudes of the Edwardian era. Lavish reactions to the austerity of World War I and the Great Depression combined with the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, the Jazz Age and the Machine Age, and increasing travel opened pathways for art and design in every venue of expression.

Great experimentation characterized the period, and for the first time in centuries, designers worked with a truly different silhouette. Innovative seaming, draping, fabrics, beads and feathers were stylistic features. Through the love of surface embellishment and abstract motifs, graphic design became characteristic of Art Deco style, merging art and fashion unlike any preceding period.

The gala and exhibition will afford visitors a unique opportunity to see a rare collection of significant fashion pieces that exemplify early 20th century artistic movements. For more information, call the School of Creative Arts (SOCA) at (260) 399-7700, ext. 8001.

SOCA is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Founded in 1944, NASAD establishes national standards for art and design undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials.

Approximately 297 institutions make up its membership.