JoAnne Olian

Title: Curator, Art Historian
Location: New York, New York, United States

JoAnne Olian, Curator and Art Historian, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Artists for dedication, achievements, and leadership in fashion.

Now retired from a long and distinguished career as curator of the costume collection at the Museum of the City of New York, Ms. Olian has garnered a laudable reputation for her creativity and scholarship. Associated with the Museum for over twenty years, she was appointed curator in 1973, a capacity in which she was responsible for collecting and exhibiting, as well as lecturing and writing about the many facets of costume and fashion history and administering the department. From 1992 to 1995 she served as consultant curator, after which she retired as curator emeritus.

Prior to her tenure at the Museum, she spent several years at Glen Manufacturing, designing junior size coats and suits. During the course of her career, Ms. Olian served as a visiting lecturer at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. She has also taught at the Parsons School of Design in New York. Since her retirement, she has remained active in her field as an associate trustee of the Nassau County Museum of Art since 2007. She notably served as curator of its Iris Apfel: Rare Bird of Fashion, Garden Party and Art and Fashion exhibitions.

Ms. Olian’s shows at the Museum of the City of New York were drawn primarily from the Museum’s vast collections.  They include A Woman’s Place, The Elegant Eighties, Best Bib and Tucker, The House of Worth, The Gibson Girl and The Ladies’ Mile. She has authored 15 books for Dover Publications, Inc. on the history of French and American fashion.

Ms. Olian studied fine art at Syracuse University before receiving a Bachelor of Arts at Hofstra University in 1969. In 1972 she attained a Master of Arts degree from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She was active in several professional organizations relating to her career including The Fashion Group.Inc., The Costume Society of America and the Centre International des Textiles Anciens. She is a member of The Cosmopolitan Club of New York.

An accomplished painter, her work has been shown at regional exhibits and received favorable reviews in the New York Times. She has served on the Landmarks Commission of the Village of Sands Point. Her continuing interest in fashion has inspired her to give annual talks at the Education Center of Longboat Key, Florida.  And she spends meaningful time with her daughters and her granddaughter.

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