70 - The Original Fashion Week Star

“Clothes don’t make you a Chi Omega. It is what you have in your head and heart that appeals and that you should share. Have the courage to meet the situation as it should be met, not with new apparel but by making the old answer.

“I pledge you that I will conform to the spirit and letter of this plea, except that I gave my last summer’s oxfords such good care that half soles will not be necessary before 1921,” Mary Love Collins.

Mary Love Collins, center in a signature suit, in 1912 with other NPC Presidents. Note that Mary Love Collins had very unique style compared to her peers

Long before models began strutting down the runways of New York Fashion Week in 1943, Mary Love Collins was creating her own head-turning fashion moments at Chi Omega events across the country.

Mary Love Collins, S.H. from 1910-1952, was the longest serving Governing Council member of any Sister. In addition to her tenure, she also became known for her easily recognizable, tailored suit and tie.

It’s said that her signature look was rooted in her desire to not want to waste time with “frivolous things, like fashion.” Instead, it was much easier to have a simple and reliable suit made by a local tailor in Cincinnati.

Mary Love Collins meeting Convention delegates and posing for photos

It was always tradition for someone to dress up as Mary Love for the Night of Revelry at each Convention. And Sisters from all over knew Mary Love’s notorious suits were always fair game for a little bit of light-hearted banter.

For many years, future S.H. Kirk Cocke played the role of Mary Love, who went right along with it and provided a suit and tie for the occasion.

Kirk said, “…she gave me the suit and said, ‘Be careful with it -this is it’s first Convention.'”

A snippet from The Eleusis of Mary Love Collins and Ethel Switzer Howard

Mary Love’s style transcended her entire Chi Omega career, even wearing her suit to her final Chi Omega Convention in 1970.

A rare color photo of Mary Love Collins, of course, in her suit, with future S.H. Kirk Cocke from 1970 Convention, which ended up being Mary Love’s last Convention