At Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there are plenty of opportunities to shine, from parties to the induction ceremonies. The Rock Hall’s Director of Community Relations, Ruthie Brown, gave this suit to her colleague Susan Hall, who first wore it to their annual fundraiser in 2001. With its second owner, this suit has attended events, and even traveled to New York for a Rock Hall induction ceremony (although, due to a broken shoe strap, it didn’t make it to the event).
Clevelander Russell Trusso designed the ensemble during the 1990s, when he was still working as both an anesthesiologist and a couturier. He first found fashion success making one-of-a-kind wedding dresses from antique lace, and progressed to couture suits and gowns. Today, Trusso is a full-time jewelry designer, working with gems and enamel, and developing new techniques like his method for embedding diamonds into the surfaces of pearls. His clothes still fill the closets of Cleveland women, and the WRHS costume collection includes a handful of his garments.
Susan believes that “dressing for the occasion is essential,” and although her life’s work is community engagement and documenting Black history, fashion has always been important. Following college, she worked for IZOD Kids in New York City, and when she first moved to Cleveland Susan managed production and models for catalog and editorial work at Remington. She also worked as the Director of Community Relations and a Curator at the WRHS, where she worked on exhibitions such as 1964 – When Browns Town was Title Town, Through the Lens of Allen E. Cole, and Carl & Louis Stokes: From the Projects to Politics. When not working as a historian, Susan is the President of Hall Creative Productions, where she creates public art exhibits, events, strategic marketing, and historical research focused on African American and pop culture history.
(Evening Suit, 1990s. Russell Trusso. Worn in Cleveland, Ohio by Susan Hall (b. 1962)