Met’s Costume Institute to Explore American Style

vintage_fashion.jpgAfter fashionable forays into the worlds of superheroes and supermodels, the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute will return to mere mortals with a spring exhibition entitled “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity” [and cue an old-timey syncopated version of The Guess Who track]. The opening of the Gap-sponsored show will be feted on May 3 with the annual Costume Institute benefit gala, this year co-chaired by Oprah Winfrey, Gap designer Patrick Robinson, and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

A fitting historical follow-up to the aesthetics and innovation now on view in the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s “American Beauty” exhibition, expertly curated by Patricia Mears, the Costume Institute’s “American Woman” will feature approximately 80 examples of haute couture and high fashion from the vast Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, which the Met acquired in 2008. The show will explore changing perceptions of the modern American woman from 1890 to 1940, and how they have affected the way American women are seen today. “The ideal of the American woman evolved from a dependence on European, Old World ideas of elegance into an independent New World sensibility that reflected freedoms still associated with American women today,” said Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute, in a statement issued today. “The show will look at fashion’s role in defining how American women have been represented historically, and how fashion costumes women into archetypes that still persist in varying degrees of relevance.” Among the designers that will be included in the journey from heiresses and Gibson girls to flappers and screen sirens are Coco Chanel, Madame Gres, Charles James, Paul Poiret, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Charles Frederick Worth.

Previously on UnBeige:

  • Met’s Costume Institute to Celebrate ‘Model as Muse’
  • Brooklyn Museum Will Transfer Costume Collection to Metropolitan Museum
  • When Harold Met Blogging: Museum Enters Blogosphere via Costume Institute Show