“American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity”

Metropolitan Museum to Open May 5, 2010; First Costume Institute Exhibition Based on Renowned Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection Gala Benefit May 3, 2010, with Co-Chairs Oprah Winfrey, Patrick Robinson, and Anna Wintour
The exhibition is made possible by Gap.
Additional support is provided by Condé Nast.
Exhibition dates: May 5–August 15, 2010
Press preview: Monday, May 3, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.

The spring 2010 exhibition organized by The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity, the first drawn from the newly established Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Met. The exhibition, on view from May 5 through August 15,2010 (preceded on May 3 by The Costume Institute Gala Benefit), examines how perceptions of American women have changed via their wardrobes from 1890 (corsets) to 1940 (sexy bia-cut gowns) through various feminine archetypes. The Heiress, Gibson Girl, Bohemian, Suffragist, Flapper, and Screen Siren helped initiate style revolutions to liberate women physically, intellectually, politically and sexually in the U.S. and around the world.

Ensembles by European and American designers will be showcased in panoramic galleries designed to immerse visitors in each period. A final gallery with projected and holographic images of American women from 1890 to today will distill these archetypes into the characteristics that define modern American style.

The exhibition will feature approximately 80 examples of haute couture and high fashion primarily from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was transferred to the Met from the Brooklyn Museum in January 2009. Many of the pieces have not been seen by the public in more than 30 years.

Designers in the exhibition will include Travis Banton, Gabrielle Chanel, Callot Soeurs, Madame Eta, Elizabeth Hawes, Madame Grès, Charles James, Jeanne Lanvin, Liberty & Company, Edward Molyneux, Paul Poiret, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jessie Franklin Turner, Valentina, Madeleine Vionnet, Weeks, Charles Frederick Worth, and Jean-Philippe Worth, among others.

The Metropolitan Museum exhibition is organized by Andrew Bolton, Curator, with the support of Harold Koda, Curator in Charge, both of the Met’s Costume Institute. Nathan Crowley, a production designer of films including The Prestige,The Dark Knight, and Public Enemies will serve as the exhibition’s creative consultant, as he did for the 2008 exhibition Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy. The design for the 2010Costume Institute Gala Benefit will be created by Nathan Crowley with Raul Avila.

For more information:

Nancy Chilton
The Costume Institute



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

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