Instead of inviting hundreds of types of fashion-centric media, influencers and guests to preview its latest exhibition at the Costume Institute, as in the past, the Metropolitan Museum of Art welcomed fans virtually Monday morning to get a preview of his next show.
Instead of just glancing at elaborate or perfectly tailored clothing, the show aims to generate discussion about many of the issues being debated around the world – social equity, diversity, sustainability and more. The one-year two-part show is an attempt to recoup the past year in light of the pandemic.
Met Director Max Hollein, Instagram VP Fashion and Shopping Eva Chen and Costume Institute Curator Andrew Bolton assisted with the presentation, hinting at the multimedia aspect of the show for two reasons. In what will run for a year, the Met will unveil âIn America: A Lexicon of Fashionâ at the Anna Wintour Costume Center on September 18. The second part of the exhibit, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”, will debut on May 5, 2022, in the vintage rooms of the American Wing. For the first part, the work of American fashion pioneers will be celebrated with the various contemporary designers of the world “to illustrate the changing tides of American fashion,” said Hollein.
In its 75th year, the Costume Institute aims not only to honor the past, but also to embrace the changing roster of fashion talent. Bolton spoke about how American designers have been at the forefront of conscious creativity for 75 years, especially when it comes to sustainability and transparency. They have also been at the forefront of discussions on diversity and inclusion. The social justice movements of the past summer have strengthened their commitment to these issues, “as well as their leadership.”
For those who might think last year has been a bit of a blur, there will be signs of it in Part 2 of the show. Mirrors will be used to show the blurring of borders during the pandemic and “how the functions in the rooms of our homes have become less distinct …” To this end, the rooms will be identified by their emotional qualities rather than by their functions – the kitchen. will be identified by well-being, the living room by confidence, the library by reverence, the office by aspiration, the bedroom by intimacy, the attic by nostalgia and the basement by fear. Taken collectively, the garments that will be on display in each of the period rooms are intended to create âa modern vocabulary of American fashion that prioritizes its values, emotions and feelingsâ¦â said Bolton. âFundamentally, the new vocabulary will address the creative impulses of American fashion, as well as social, political and environmental motivations. The first part will present the fashion of the designers of the XXth and XXIst centuries in connection with these themes. Melina Matsoukas will make an open film which will be screened in the galleries.
The second part of the exhibition is a collaboration between the Costume Institute and the American Wing. From the 18th century to the present day, the exhibition will present historical and contemporary clothing for women and men. There will be a series of three-dimensional stills produced with well-known American filmmakers. Charles James, Claire McCardell and Fannie Criss, an activist seamstress at the turn of the 20th century, will be in the spotlight. John Vanderlyn’s 1819 mural of Versailles will serve as the backdrop for a tribute to the 1973 ‘Battle of Versailles’, what legendary WWD editor John B. Fairchild has dubbed the showdown between American designers and their European counterparts.
Acknowledging the reinvention and self-reflection that is taking place in the fashion industry, Bolton spoke of the endless possibilities that present themselves. The one-year event at the Met is also meant to be an attempt to recoup the past year, Bolton said. To play out what The Met hopes will be a cinematic, immersive, and democratized experience, American filmmakers help tell the story of American fashion in Part 2 of the show.
While simplicity and functionality are some of the principles by which American fashion has been described, the first part of the show will examine the complexity of American fashion. Noting that the fashion industry is re-evaluating and reinventing itself, Bolton also spoke about the importance of creating new vocabulary to be more relevant, to be in tune with the times we live in.
Hollein noted that Instagram will sponsor both parts of the exhibit. Before addressing Chen’s video remarks, Hollein singled out Instagram’s Adam Mosseri and CondÃ© Nast for their decades of support. He also praised Wintour, who will be co-premier of the first Met Gala with Mosseri and Tom Ford. The co-chairs will include TimothÃ©e Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka and Amanda Gorman. This is scheduled for September 13, pending government guidance. A second Met Gala is scheduled for May 2, 2022.
Bolton highlighted such works as a voluminous pink taffeta dress by Christopher John Rogers and a piece of recycled white silk organza from Conner Ives’ “American Dream” collection that caters to different body types. The two designers are finalists for the LVMH Prize. There is also a work by Andre Walker from his Spring 2018 âNonexistent Patternsâ collection which was partially sponsored by Pendleton Woolen Mills. Bolton noted a dress from Prabal Gurung’s 10th anniversary Spring / Summer 2020 collection that combined traditional American motifs with a traditional oriental dress. The white poplin dress shown had a belt printed with “Who Gets to Be American”.
A faded black denim shawl from Sterling Ruby will be used to open the first exhibit and close the second to connect the two exhibits. Conceived during the social justice movement last summer, the artist called it the ‘flag of the veil’ and said he explores “the concept of the flag as an evolving signifier and how our relationship to it can change when activated as a veil. Bolton closed the preview with Ruby’s site-specific film of his creation.
Standing on the steps of the Met in a clip earlier in the presentation, Chen boasted that Instagram has over a billion users and that #fashion is one of the top five hashtags used every day. âWhether you’re an industry insider like a designer, model or stylist, or an ordinary teenager somewhere in the world, you know Instagram is the place to be for inspiration and community. Over the past year, however, Instagram has also been the place for real-time conversations around global activism and movements on social justice, equity, race and gender. she said. â… I hope this exhibition helps spark a global conversation about what fashion means in America today and tomorrow. “