(L) Ball Gown, Viktor & Rolf (Dutch, founded 1993), spring/summer 2010: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2011.
(R) Ensemble, John Galliano (British, born Gibraltar, 1960) for Maison Margiela (French, founded 1988), spring/summer 2015; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Friends of the Costume Institute Gifts, 2015.
Since spring, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has put craftsmanship on a pedestal with its “Manus x Machina” exhibition, which explores the changing relationship between fashion and technology. The celebration of fashion as art, and as historical document, will continue in the fall with the museum’s upcoming exhibit, “Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion,” to open on November 8. Comprised of new acquisitions from the past 10 years, the exhibit will showcase silhouettes, techniques, trends, and materials from the 18th century through today.
“Our mission is to present fashion as a living art that interprets history, becomes part of the historical process, and inspires subsequent art,” said the Costume Institute’s curator in charge Andrew Bolton, who oversaw assistant curator Jessica Regan’s curation of the show, in a release. “Over the seven decades since the Costume Institute became part of The Met in 1946, our collecting strategy has shifted from creating a collection of Western high fashion that is encyclopedic in breadth to one focused on acquiring a body of masterworks.”
Works will be displayed in packing crates, some pieces paired with historical clothing from the Met’s collection to further illuminate the connections between eras. Such is the case for a 2015 Maison Margiela gown by John Galliano, which will be placed beside a 1964 creation by Cristóbal Balenciaga, or a Halston dress from the ’80s that will be paired with a Vionnet piece from the ’30s.
The show marks the Costume Institute’s first acquisitions show since 2007’s “blog.mode: addressing fashion” and will run through February 5, 2017.
(L) Dress, Sarah Burton (British, born 1974) for Alexander McQueen (British, founded 1992), spring/summer 2011; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2014.
(R) Ensemble, Raf Simons (Belgian, born 1968) for House of Dior (French, founded 1947), autumn/winter 2014-15 haute couture; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Christian Dior Couture, in honor of Harold Koda, 2016.
(L) Ball Gown, Jean-Philippe Worth (French, 1856-1926) for House of Worth (French, 1858-1956), 1898; Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Paul Pennoyer, 1965.
(R) Robe Volante, French, ca. 1730; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2010.