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Fashion Don'ts on Display at the San Francisco Public Library

We may be serious about fashion, but there’s at least one place in San Francisco where we’re more than happy to embrace fashion that’s a total joke. House of Nat: Fashion Tips from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor, opening today in the San Francisco Public Library Skylight Gallery, pokes fun at fashion through the ages with artwork, photography and ephemera displaying the ha-ha-funny side of haute couture.

You didn’t think there was one? Well then, you obviously haven’t heard about the cellophane formal wear trend that crinkled onto the scene in 1938 or, for that matter, glimpsed actress Joan Collins attempting to mimic the demure sex-appeal of 1950s strip tease queen Candy Barr. And for anyone who’s ever found herself embroiled in a full-scale fashion emergency, we’re betting you’ll feel a lot better once you’ve witnessed the aptly named Dumbo coif conceived by French hairstylist Phyris during the spring of 1953. The show also features fashion faux pas photographs of other such well-known performers as Phyllis Diller, Carol Landis, Mae West and Josephine Baker.

House of Nat: Fashion Tips from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor runs through May 31 in the Skylight Gallery at the San Francisco Main Library. For more information, visit sfpl.org or call 415-557-4400.