If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, head there to enjoy Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion before it closes next weekend. The show offers both a look at some recent acquisitions as well as why they were chosen to be part of the museum's collection.
There are about 60 examples of "masterworks" spanning centuries that the Costume Institute has added since 2007, which show how focus has shifted from different elements (fabric vs. tailoring, for instance.). Some of the pieces are paired with similar designs that was actually decades (or even more) apart, like a 2015 John Galliano for Maison Margiela dress and a 1964 Cristobal Balenciaga gown. Vogue's Suzy Menkes said after seeing the show, "I myself was fooled by some of the pieces. When I first spotted a Balenciaga padded-hip suit, I thought at first that it was a vintage piece from the 1950s - but it was actually created in this millennium by Demna Gvasalia of Vetements, now Creative Director of Cristobal Balenciaga’s famous house."
Assistant Curator Jessica Regan, who put together the exhibit, said, "While fashion is often derided for its ephemerality, its quick responsiveness to change ensures that it is an immediate expression of the spirit of its time—a vivid reflection of social, cultural, and political circumstances, and of shifting ideals of beauty. The masterworks we’ve chosen to highlight are among many we have collected in the past decade that draw on forms, motifs, and themes of the past, reinterpreting fashion history in ways that resonate in the present."
Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion is open at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through February 5, 2017