Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion Part I

Art, Fashion

Happy Monday and I hope everyone’s weekend was well! Mine was great and filled with museum trips! I had the opportunity to attend and see The Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s newest exhibition, Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion. It was simply breathtaking and I enjoyed how the exhibition started with a Viktor and Rolf Fall 2015 Couture gown featured in the entrance. Then as you enter the actual exhibition, you see another beautiful ball gown from the all-star duo. These two pieces are starting points to the exhibition because they display the gowns as art pieces.The entrance piece is a gown, which can be hung as a painting and the ball gown is perfectly cut somewhat like a sculpture.

The Met’s curator, Andrew Bolton tells the story how fashion has become an art form beginning in the eighteenth century. France became the center in creating exquisite detailed garments because of King Louis XIV. Here are two pieces from the era:

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You can tell the craftsmanship to the garments by their structure and careful pleating to exaggerate the woman’s figure. British men also, were fashionable then, here are two coat-like outfits they would wearing:

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During this time, the men’s fashion would be called, Dandy due to the pompousness and polished look of the men’s outfits. You can learn more about the history of the Dandy man by watching this British GQ YouTube video here. It is interesting to see how the modern Dandy has transformed today.

Then as you walk further, there is a section on nineteenth century clothing. Bolton curates, “Fashion of this era reflect the tension between the embrace of new technologies and nostalgia for a preindustrial past, as seen in the revival of historical styles and the continued importance of fine handwork.” One gown that stood out to me was created by the House of Worth.

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You can see how it is less exaggerated by the wast unlike the first two eighteenth gowns. There is more detail toward the bust and waist. However, the draping is similar to the other gowns.

The early twentieth century pieces became more exciting to see since the art evolved more so. I adore the Charles James’ “La Sirene” Evening Dress or known as “the lobster dress.” He is a master at his skill and I love the pleating. You can see it here:

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Another designer I could not keep my eyes off was Elsa Schiaparelli’s “Cocteau” Evening Jacket and Skirt. The illustration of the woman is beautifully done and it is not too overbearing to the outfit. I like how the design moves and the structure of the skirt’s pleats cascade perfectly below the knees. You can picture Katherine Hepburn or Lauren Bacall wear this.

The picture to the bottom right is a printed dress made by Salvador Dali. It made me so in awe because I wish more artists collaborated with designers more. I know H&M and UNIQULO tend to have art collaborations. However, I mean there should be another a great partnership between artist and designer like Dali and MGM costume designer, Gilbert Adrian. I love this dress because it is eye catching and the art speaks for itself. The print gives the dress a bold statement and that is what fashion and art is — expressing oneself.

 

For now, I will finish this blog post and write a part II. Please be sure to keep an eye out for it!

-km xoxo