The Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Department of Textile Arts contains more than 13,000 textiles and costumes from traditions around the world. A remarkable range of techniques is represented, including loom-woven textiles; nonwoven fabrics, such as bark cloth, felt, and knitting; and objects embellished with beading and embroidery.
Highlights from the collection include extraordinary Turkmen carpets, rare 12th- through 15th-century Central Asian and North Indian silks, the most important group of Anatolian kilims outside Turkey, European tapestries, exquisite ecclesiastical textiles, and contemporary Bay Area fiber art. Since the 1930s the de Young has been known for its 20th-century couture, particularly from the post–World War II era, with outstanding pieces by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Madame Grés, and Yves Saint Laurent.
With holdings that span nearly three millennia and represent cultures from 125 countries, the textile arts collection enables the Museums to draw connections across cultures and enrich other areas of the permanent collection. Throughout the year the Lonna and Marshall Wais and Diana Dollar Knowles and Gorham B. Knowles costume and textile arts gallery hosts several exhibitions, featuring the diverse range of these collections, as well as important traveling exhibitions.
In addition to the larger rotating textiles presentations in the main gallery, the T. B. Walker Family Education Gallery houses small, didactic displays and contains study drawers illustrating representative pieces from the entire collection, highlighting different textile techniques.