Looking to get your fashion fix before the Met Gala this spring? Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion is a refreshing Costume Institute exhibition which highlights the best ensembles of the past decade.
In the years since the Costume Institute became a part of the Met in 1946, the collection strategy has changed from acquiring the widest possible range of Western high fashion to creating a collection focused on masterworks. “When we collect, our principal concern is the artistic merit of an object,” says Jessica Regan, the exhibition’s curator. The fall 2016 Costume Institute exhibition at the Met features the most notable costume acquisitions of the past 10 years, and sheds some light on the department’s process of collecting masterworks which are both technically and aesthetically outstanding. The exhibition spans three galleries in the Met.
Displayed in the Met’s Anna Wintour Costume Center, there are about 60 masterworks dating from the early 18th century to the present, including iconic works by designers who made a mark on the history of fashion and those who helped solidify fashion’s place as an art form.
In the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery, the works are arranged chronologically on wooden platforms that look like packing crates, both keeping the focus on the work itself and giving the viewer the impression that they are (as the exhibition title says) unpacking fashion. The works in this gallery are mostly women’s wear, but also include some men’s wear ensembles and accessories. Each object has a description which details its significance in fashion history.
The Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery exhibits some ensembles donated by designers to honor Harold Koda, who retired from his position as the head curator of The Costume Institute in January 2016.
Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion will be exhibited November 28th, 2016 through February 5th, 2017 at the Met Fifth Avenue, (1000 Fifth Avenue.) The exhibition is free with museum admission.