Designed by
Dearing, Judy, American, 1940 - 1995
Worn by
Collins, Risë
Subject of
Black Fashion Museum, American, 1979 - 2007
Shange, Ntozake, American, 1948 - 2018
synthetic satin and crepe with metal closures
H x W x D (On form): 40 3/4 × 17 × 14 1/2 in. (103.5 × 43.2 × 36.8 cm)
Sleeveless dress costume for the character Lady in Purple from the original Broadway production of Ntozake Shange's choreopoem "for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf." The dress is made from purple satin synthetic fabric with the crepe finished wrong side facing. The bodice has a sweetheart neckline, scooped back, and front shaping with princess darts, ending at the natural waistline. The neckline and armholes are edged with the purple satin, with the shiny satin side facing. There is a length of self-fabric piping around the waist, again with the shiny satin side facing. The full circle skirt falls at the knee and is hemmed with a chain stitch in purple thread that is covered with serged stitching in pink thread. The dress closes at the center back with a metal zipper, with two (2) small metal hook-and-eye fasteners, one at the top of the back and the second at the waist. There is a length of cream grosgrain ribbon sewn to the interior proper right and left back waist with a single metal hook-and-eye closure on the ends of the ribbon. The bodice is lined with purple synthetic satin, while the skirt is not lined. There are two (2) male metal snaps, one at each front armhole interior, sewn over the seam of the bust dart; there is no evidence of the corresponding female sides of these snaps.
Place used
New York City, Manhattan County, New York, United States, North and Central America
Collection title
Black Fashion Museum Collection
Broadway Theatre
Clothing and dress
Costume design
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of the Black Fashion Museum founded by Lois K. Alexander-Lane
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.

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