Nancy Hills, a professor in Utah State Universityâ€™s Theatre Arts Department and the Caine College of the Arts, is making the most of her current sabbatical leave.
Sheâ€™s designed costumes for â€œThe Playboy of the Western Worldâ€� and, most recently, â€œBlithe Spirit,â€� both for Artist Repertory Theatre in Portland, Ore. Sheâ€™s travelled to Great Britain where, among numerous activities, she presented a public lecture at the Society of Antiquaries in London. The title of the presentation was â€œHistorical Dress: a Project Inspired by Janet Arnoldâ€� and it featured recreations of gowns from patterns taken from Hillsâ€™ Janet Arnold research, and modeled by 11 USU interior design students. The gowns were constructed by USU Theatre Arts graduate students. Janet Arnold (1932-1998), the subject of Hillsâ€™ research, was a British clothing historian, costume designer, teacher, conservator and author.
The gowns have become well-traveled. They appeared in the exhibit â€œSymphony in Whiteâ€� from June 2014 through Christmas at Berrington Hall near Leominster in Herefordshire â€” this time appearing on dress forms. And now they are a part of a new exhibit, â€œShades of White: The Changing Shape of Women,â€� that will be shown Feb. 14 through April 25 at the Hereford Museum and Gallery in Hereford. Hills has added nine pieces to the show that features reinterpretations of gowns from 1750 to 1950.