Tuesday, July 6, 2010

American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity

I went to the Costume Institute's exhibit at the Met called American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity, on view until August 15, 2010. Unfortunately, the museum will not allow patrons to take photographs because of "copyright issues," as one guard told me, so I cannot share with you how beautiful the exhibit is as a whole, not only with their gowns but with the wonderful murals that help fix the clothes in their proper era and the crazy-gorgeous wigs on the mannequins created by Julian D'ys, whose work is often featured in Vogue. The exhibit is broken down by American female archetypes, rather than by designer and period, as at the Brooklyn Museum show, and the clothes largely culled from the newly established Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The archetypes are the Heiress, the Gibson Girl, the Bohemian, the Patriot & the Suffragist, the Flapper, and the Screen Siren.

My favorite room belonged to the Flapper, showing shimmering dresses from the 1920's in shades of ivory and champagne and coral and pink. The dress above, from 1925, French, but not attributed to a particular designer or house, was one of the thirteen dresses on display in the room.

The other dress shown here is an 1898 Jean-Philippe Worth gown featured in the Heiress room.

If you go to the Met's website and click on the American Woman page, you will find a short video tour of the exhibit.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York NY 10028

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