The Costume Institute's Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library collection contains 25,000 books and periodicals as well as over 1,500 designer files all pertaining to the history of fashion, haute couture, regional clothing, and costume from around the world, dated from the sixteenth century to today. Extensive special collections include fashion plates, photographs, illustrations and sketches, textile swatches, lookbooks, archives, and related ephemera. Some special collections materials can be found on the Museum Libraries' Digital Collections website.
Before making an appointment, outside researchers are encouraged to search the holdings of The Costume Institute Library in WATSONLINE, the Museum's online catalog. We recommend that visitors conduct as much research as possible at other institutions prior to requesting an appointment at our facility.
Hours: By appointment only, Tuesday–Thursday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.