A Look at the Old, New, and Timeless · Unpacking Fashion at the Met
An exhibit honoring the Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion at the Met Museum → the ones who dared to undue the norm.
There is such a sense of beauty in fashion. From the way it’s made to the way it’s styled. So this round — as we do best — I collaborated with Kenya Thomas from Harper’s Bazaar and The Skinny NYC to share some insight on 60 significant contributions to fashion of the past 10 years.
Here’s what you need to know:
The exhibition opened to the public on November 18, 2016 and will run through to February 5, 2017 — What a way to mark the coming of this Springs most coveted events for NYFW, as well as, the 2017 MET Gala (this years theme: Comme des Garcons’ designer Rei Kawakubo).
Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, Anna Wintour Costume Center
Curated by: Assistant Curator Jessica Regan with support from Curator in Charge Andrew Bolton.
Exhibition Overview: The exhibition highlights approximately 60 of these masterworks from the early 18th century to the present.
While fashion is often derided for its ephemerality, its quick responsiveness to change ensures that it is an immediate expression of the spirit of its time—a vivid reflection of social, cultural, and political circumstances, and of shifting ideals of beauty…
The masterworks we’ve chosen to highlight are among many we have collected in the past decade that draw on forms, motifs, and themes of the past, reinterpreting fashion history in ways that resonate in the present. — Jessica Regan
Our mission is to present fashion as a living art that interprets history, becomes part of the historical process, and inspires subsequent art. — Andrew Bolton
This exhibit shows a different perspective of fashion to admire. The one that’s transitioning from Western high fashion to a body of masterworks. Showcased atop wooden crates, the exhibit gives you a duality of the curators unpacking the pieces and assigning status vs the analyzing of the viewers of these works. With this, a collection of old and new intertwines.
Eighteen-century garments are measured for the quality of their material as oppose to the details of its cuts and construction. Where else can you see a Spring Summer 2015 John Galiano runway piece next to a 1780 British masterpiece – no where.
Nineteenth-century garments are measured for the quality of the dressmaking and tailoring techniques. Really emphasizing on the distinctive silhouette.
But the masterworks of both the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are components of designers who have expanded the possibilities for fashion.
Doost → My favorite piece is this black silk crepe embroidered with pearls, clear rhinestones, with colorful earth-tone beads. A number from House of Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld.
Doost → This stunning piece — which I wish to wear someday — is part of Karl’s first collection in 1983. I love his more earlier pieces as they keep in line with Chanel’s original founder while breathing contemporary relevance to her work.
Kenya Thomas talks Chanel → Lagerfeld invented Haute Couture – well maybe not. But this piece is the definition of the term! Earlier this year I had the pleasure of viewing this Chanel piece with Dr. Valerie Steele for a BAZAAR Facebook live in the fashion vault of FIT. Seeing it a second time only reminded me of the fashion orgasm I had the 1st time.
Doost → Since my collaboration with Vanity Fair and Viktor & Rolf earlier this year — I have a new found appreciation for this Dutch brand. Simply brilliant. This piece is a ball gown from their spring/summer 2010 collection. Driven by sophisticated concepts and supported by formal experimentation and refined techniques. A stunning piece ↓
Kenya Thomas talks Tom Ford → one of my favorite contemporary designers. Long before being a Jay-Z lyric, Tom Ford was rocking Gucci and YSL as creative director. Ford also a film director, screenwriter and film producer captures the glitz and glam of Hollywood without being too costume-like. The sequin jersey dresses below is part of his SS14 collection, confirming he in fact does NOT pop molly. The dress was designed as a tribute to Jay-Z and worn by Beyonce while on tour as a homage to Tom Ford. A love triangle to die for.
Kenya Thomas talks Versace → forever iconic. If you don’t have a Versace piece, you don’t know what you’ve been missing! “THAT DRESS” as often referred to is the dress which Elizabeth Hurley wore to the Four Weddings and a Funeral premiere in 1994.
I remember seeing the dress in photos and trying to recreate it in part – armed with a punky brewster T shirt and cheap silver safety pins. Then, I cut my sleeves and used safety pins to gold hem together. But my age was just too young for ‘sexy’ as Versace is known for. Very ahead of its time and never afraid to push the boundaries of sexy and classy, Versace just doesn’t disappoint.
Kenya Thomas talks House of Worth → 3 words: elegant, detailed and perfect. It’s just better to say less about the House of Worth. There just aren’t enough words to add up to the value of true mastery when it comes to such a historical design house.
In conclusion, seeing designers that you grew up coveting, be honored as artists is just exhilarating. Fashion imitates art; after having the pleasure of Unpacking Fashion from old to new at the Met with my doost – this couldn’t be more true!
Designers in the exhibition include Gilbert Adrian, Azzedine Alaïa, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Geoffrey Beene, Thom Browne, Sarah Burton (Alexander McQueen), Antonio del Castillo (Lanvin-Castillo), Hussein Chalayan (Hussein Chalayan and Vionnet), Christian Dior, Tom Ford, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano (John Galliano and Maison Margiela), Nicolas Ghesquière (Balenciaga), Demna Gvasalia (Balenciaga), Charles James, Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons), Karl Lagerfeld (House of Chanel), Jeanne Lanvin, Christian Louboutin, Maison Margiela, Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Paul Poiret, Zandra Rhodes, Yves Saint Laurent (House of Dior and Rive Gauche), Elsa Schiaparelli, Raf Simons (House of Dior), Hedi Slimane (Saint Laurent), Noritaka Tatehana, Philip Treacy, Iris van Herpen, Viktor Horsting and Ralph Snoeren (Viktor & Rolf), Gianni Versace, Madeleine Vionnet, Vivienne Westwood & Malcolm McLaren (Let it Rock), Jean-Charles and Jean-Philippe Worth (House of Worth), and Yohji Yamamoto.