Inside the Met’s patchwork-style survey of American fashion

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The Met Gala is a celebration of timeless glamor, no one can deny it. Every spring, with the exception of the year 2021, the Museum sets the stage for the ultimate cultural crossover episode, in which our favorite stars, past and present, mingle and pay homage (see: Lourdes de Leon reminiscent of Cher in a pink Moschino issue, or Troye Sivan’s legendary homage to 90s Gwyneth Paltrow). But for all the hustle and bustle it brings to the halls of the Museum, the Met Gala may distract from the months of research and planning that go into the Costume Institute’s annual exhibit. This year, the party marked the opening of In America: A Fashion Lexicon—a presentation that “establishes a modern vocabulary” of contemporary American design by putting words to the most breathtaking and breathtaking fashion moments of our time. Now that the chaos has subsided, let’s take a look at the exhibit that served as the backdrop and inspiration for a night of glitzy celebrity hedonism.

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On the morning of the exhibition’s press preview, Anna Wintour, visionary of the event, made her tour flanked by a string of Vogue girls. The show, a survey of American fashion featuring nearly 100 creations by American designers (arranged in cases like the patches of a quilt), was curated by sentiment – Joy, Strength, Longing and Wonder, among others – sending a clear signal on the message of unity that inspired Andrew Bolton, curator in charge of the Costume Institute.

More intriguing than the pieces themselves was their orientation – a dress by Pierre Davis from No Sesso, the first trans woman to ever showcase a collection at New York Fashion Week, has been positioned alongside some of Ralph Lauren’s signature American denims and a contemporary patchwork Bode design, revealing the evolving and diverse history of a harsh country that is divided forever. In addition to setting up these powerful contrasts, the show managed to touch the point of nostalgia by tackling the effortless minimalism and sensuality of the American style, highlighting the simple designs of 1980s Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, a Halston dream piece and refined Carolina Herrera dresses. While browsing the gallery, I came across Jill Krementz, the legendary photographer who photographed Andy Warhol and Alfred Hitchcock. Before leaving, she asked to take a picture of me. She liked my outfit: second-hand Ralph Lauren pants and a pair of Converse shoes from a recent collaboration with Rick Owens. Her request to photograph my clothes, made by two designers who have shaped the past and present of American style, was a perfect conclusion to the exhibition.


Second part, In America: a fashion anthology will open on May 5, 2022.


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