Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute

The Costume Institute at the Met has put its large collection of clothing into an online database that you can search which is really fun to browse through. Click on Collection Database and type in a keyword like Chanel of Yves Saint Laurent. Go here.
You can also click on Collection Highlights for access to popular pieces. The beautiful dress pictured above is from Lanvin, 1924; it kind of looks like Dries Van Noten's collection, which I wrote about below, doesn't it?

This dress is from Worth, 1925. Some French designers just last week showed similar designs that are short in the front and long in the back.

This is Callet Soeurs, 1924. So simple and chic, it could easily be worn today.

Last year, Harold Koda, curator in charge of the Costume Institute and an old friend, gave me a behind the scenes tour through the archives. The clinical white doors and drawers of the archive had been opened to reveal the treasures within, including the earliest garment they have -- an English dress from the 1690's, pale floral eighteenth century French and English dresses, Fortuny dresses twisted up into jewel-like knots, the dusty blue hat which the Duchess of Windsor wore on her wedding day. It was very special tour, and it happened to be on my birthday -- a beautiful birthday present.

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