Archive for December, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Trailing Lilies

Court Gown and Train

Charles Frederick Worth (French, born England, 1826–1895). Court Gown and Train, 1888. Pink silk satin with matching silk tulle and lace applied trim, metallic sequin and purple stone embroidery, and applied white ostrich plumes with court train of printed ivory, pink, and olive green devoré silk velvet. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2007 (2007.385a–m).

The Englishman Charles Frederick Worth is considered the inventor of the modern fashion system, with its seasonal menu of constantly evolving styles. The couture house he established in the mid-nineteenth century was considered the preeminent Parisian fashion establishment of its day. Read more »

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Midas Touch

Michele Oka Doner

Michele Oka Doner (American, b. 1945) and Nancy Gonzalez (Colombian, b. 1953). “Gleaner” Bag, 2006. Sterling silver and dark bronze crocodile skin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Nancy Gonzalez, 2007 (2007.377.2).

Nancy Gonzalez, whose handbag designs are characterized by the unusual manipulation of exotic skins, collaborated in this example with Michele Oka Doner, a sculptor known primarily for such large-scale projects as her bronze and terrazzo floor installation at the Miami Airport. Read more »

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Highland Fling

Rei Kawakubo

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, b. 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Headdress by Stephen Jones (British, b. 1957). Ensemble, spring/summer 2006. Navy wool gabardine, red, yellow, white, and black tartan cotton, and yellow, brown, and white tartan wool; silver metal and brown leather; Union Jack–printed cotton. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Comme des Garçons, 2007 (2007.306a–d).

Rei Kawakubo has on occasion displayed a surprising affinity for contemporary British street fashion. Some of her earliest Paris collections alluded to punk and neo-romantic styles through the filter of her own strong deconstructivist aesthetic. Read more »

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


French Suit

French Suit, 1810–12. Green silk voided velvet with yellow and ivory silk filament fleck motif and ivory silk satin piping. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 2003 (2003.45a–c).

The incipient classicism of the last years of the reign of Louis XVI continued to develop and inform post-revolutionary styles. This suit’s apparent austerity compared to the elaborately embroidered examples in vogue during the ancien regime suggests a concession to the mood of the tumultuous times. Read more »

Monday, December 17, 2007

L’Air du Temps

Olivier Theyskens

Olivier Theyskens

Image: Olivier Theyskens (Belgian, b. 1977) for Nina Ricci (French, founded 1932). Evening Dress, spring/summer 2007. Steel gray heat-crinkled silk organza embroidered with linear chain stitch in white silk. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mario Grauso, 2007 (2007.376.2a, b).

For his inaugural collection at Nina Ricci, Olivier Theyskens referenced not only the archives of the house’s faintly recalled eponymous founder but also her perfume, L’Air du Temps, with its two doves hovering above the bottle of swirling crystal. Read more »

Monday, December 17, 2007

Notes on the Exhibition

blog.mode: addressing fashion

More than any other art form, fashion is an immediate expression of our zeitgeist. While painting and sculpture can seem removed from our understanding, fashion is so familiar, so ubiquitous to our experience, that it is tangible, accessible, and open to a wide range of interpretations. Individuals who might avoid publicly commenting on a canvas by Picasso or a bronze by Brancusi readily disclose their thoughts about a gown by Galliano or a mule by Blahnik. Unlike its haughty siblings, fashion—even in its most extreme and avant-garde expression—does not estrange us from the belief in the essential aptness of our judgment. Read more »

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