In America – An Anthology of Fashion
In America – An Anthology of Fashion is an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that explores defining moments in nineteenth and twentieth century American fashion within curated period rooms that were created by nine movie directors, Tom Ford, Radha Blank, Janicza Bravo, Sofia Coppola, Autumn de Wilde, Julie Dash, Regina King, Martin Scorsese, and Chloé Zhao.
Here are some of the tableaus at the Met below –
“The Battle of Versailles” is an installation by Tom Ford at this exhibit. It depicts a major night for American fashion in 1973, when five American sportswear designers faced off against five French couture designers at a show in Versailles. The French designers – Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro, Marc Bohan and Hubert de Givenchy – with their focus on handmade quality and individual fit were up against ready to wear American designers – Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows, Halston, Bill Blass and Anne Klein – whose looks were determined by department stores. The American designers came out ahead, and the rest as they say is history.
Ford depicts this evening as a tableau of a real battle, with mannequins dressed in ensembles from that show within the walls of Versailles on the walls.
There were two guards at each entrance to the room.
It was an absolutely stunning display that was magnified by the mirrored ceiling and floor –
There was a whole section on Tiffany, and here are two of my favorites –
One exhibit that stood out was by Director Radha Blank that responded to a wedding dress by Maria Hollander, who was an early American designer to engage with social justice and creator of a pro-abolition quilt in 1853, with the words “We good, Thx!”. This message, according to the director’s statement, “reasserts Black Women, often uncredited as cultural weavers of the fabric of this country, back into a narrative highlighting our contributions and quest for self-actualization.”
I have been saving the best for last, the Exhibit started with garments of historical significance, including this Brooks Brothers jacket that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in –