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Slims At The Smithsonian

A presidential gift becomes an exhibit piece.
Slims At The Smithsonian A presidential gift becomes an exhibit piece.

A beautiful embroidered jusi and satin gown designed by the late Salvacion Lim Higgins is part of a special exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution entitled “First Ladies: Political Role & Public Image.”

The gown was actually a token of goodwill, gifted by one First Lady to another. Leonila Garcia, wife of President Carlos P. Garcia, presented the gown to Mamie Eisenhower, wife of President Dwight Eisenhower, during their visit to the United States. Back then, Presidential trips as such entailed preparing a full set of gowns and dresses by the top local couturiers like Ramon Valera, Gunding Noguera of Tres Chic, Bert Hernandez, and of course, Salvacion Lim Higgins.

After her death, the name Slim's (a contraction of the designer's maiden name) became more associated with the Fashion and Arts School she left as her legacy. Finding the now rare gowns in our mother's closets, or perhaps in the racks of high-end vintage shops, calls to mind the brand's glory days—the choice of exotic fabrics, the intricate details, and the impeccable workmanship. Fashion for her, after all, was art.

It is also featured in the Smithsonian Institution website.

Click on to see more.


—Isha Andaya, Managing Editor