Seventy-three years ago, Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life magazines, called on his countrymen to "create the first great American Century." No one today could claim that this is Time's century, or the American Century, or perhaps anyone else's. Even the greatest empires now seem to have shortened lifespans.
Approximately 35 outfits from the British import are on display at the mansion-turned-museum, along with backstory on the designs and details (you can get close enough to see the frayed ends on one gown; another vintage piece ripped during wearing and had to be carefully mended with matching fabric).
America has gone through withdrawal phases before, usually after a great war: World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Some were longish, like the retreat between 1919 and the late 1930s. Some were brief, as after 1945, 1954 and 1975 (when the Vietnam War ended). In each case, war weariness translated into "Come home, America," as George McGovern famously proclaimed during the 1972 presidential campaign. In each case, the rebound eventually followed because the world wouldn't quite accommodate itself to America's reflexes. Fresh and old threats demanded American attention because others proved unable to fashion and secure a new balance of power.