Michelle Tolini Finamore

Michelle Tolini Finamore in the MFA’s Greek and Roman Sculpture Gallery.
Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff
Michelle Tolini Finamore in the MFA’s Greek and Roman Sculpture Gallery.


Age 43

Occupation Curator of Fashion Arts, Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Residence Salem

If you could live in a different era — basing the choice purely on fashion — which would you pick?

I’m really drawn to the 1920s, even though those clothes actually don’t work well on my body. But I love Art Deco, the lusciousness of the fabrics, and the shoes of the period are spectacular.

What’s on your fashion wish list for the MFA?

I would love an early Chanel, 1920s or ’30s would be wonderful. A beautiful bias-cut Madeleine Vionnet and contemporary designers such as Creatures of the Wind or Thom Browne. One of my favorite designers is Lucile, Lady Duff Gordon. I researched her for my book [Hollywood Before Glamour: Fashion in American Silent Film], and she created the most fragile, ethereal dream dresses. It was like the boudoir brought out on the street.

What do you say to people who consider fashion a lesser art form in a museum like the MFA?

If you actually look at a couture garment and the way it is constructed, there are plenty of parallels you can make to the best artworks in the museum. Couture is the pinnacle of clothing creation. And as an art form, fashion communicates on two levels, both the personal expression of the wearer and the broader cultural aesthetic of the times.  

—  Tina Sutton