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Queens Chronicle

A taste of fashion week crosses the river

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Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2012 10:30 am

Designers, models and fashion aficionados will be filling the seats of Lincoln Center this Thursday for New York Fashion Week, but you don’t need to be a style guru or even to cross the river to admire elegant designs.

Hee Myung Han, an adjunct assistant professor of patternmaking technology at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, will show off about a dozen handcrafted wedding and evening gowns at the Voelker Orth Museum in Flushing.

“It’s Fashion Week and New York has always been a fashion city,“ Voelker Orth Museum Executive Director Debby Silverfine said.

Han’s show is different from what the museum often shows, but Silverfine hopes the dresses will give guests a launching pad for their imagination and how the house would have looked inhabited by stylish party attendees.

The house was bought by German immigrant Conrad Voelker in 1881 and was passed down from generation to generation.

The Voelker family liked to throw parties and the dresses, which will be shown for only a week, will not only complement the 1800s decor, but also show off classic designs from a modern-day artist. The house was changed very little through the decades.

The dresses showcase a timeless elegance with fitted bodices and flowing skirts — ”a look that never goes out of style,” Silverfine said. So comparing fancy events of this century with those of the past won’t be difficult.

Also, viewers can get a sense of the artist’s love of gardening with the dresses’ subtle, flower brocades and their feminine, beaded floral patterns.

“You’ll get a sense of costumes in a real space,” she said. “

The quaint bird sanctuary and Victorian-style house museum focuses on the area’s horticultural and cultural heritage, with a slew of educational programs and small pottery and visual arts exhibitions.

The Voelker Orth Museum has displayed Han’s millinery (sumptuous hats) and silk flowers in the past and as a Flushing resident the artist’s gown designs are doubly appealing.

“We like to feature artists from this neighborhood,” Silverfine said.

Voelker’s granddaughter established a governing body in her will to establish the museum and look after the garden, which is maintained using 1700s techniques. The garden is home to many species of flora and fauna. There’s even a beehive, which produces a modest amount of honey for the museum’s educational programs.

‘Elegance in Style’

When: Sept. 8 to 16, Sat., Sun. and Wed., 1 to 4 p.m.

Where: Voelker Orth Museum, 149-19 38 Ave., Flushing

Tickets: $2, vomuseum.org

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