The Costume Institute’s In America: An Anthology of Fashion is the second portion of a two-part exhibition exploring fashion in the United States. Presented in collaboration with The Met’s American Wing, this section of the exhibition will highlight sartorial narratives that relate to the complex and layered histories of the American Wing period rooms.
Men’s and women’s dress dating from the eighteenth century to the present will be featured in vignettes installed in select period rooms spanning ca. 1805 to 1915: a Shaker Retiring Room from the 1830s; a nineteenth-century parlor from Richmond, Virginia; a panoramic 1819 mural of Versailles; and a twentieth-century living room designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, among others. These interiors display a survey of more than two hundred years of American domestic life and tell a variety of stories—from the personal to the political, the stylistic to the cultural, and the aesthetic to the ideological. The exhibition will reflect on these narratives through a series of three-dimensional cinematic “freeze frames” produced in collaboration with notable American film directors. These mise-en-scènes will explore the role of dress in shaping American identity and address the complex and layered histories of the rooms.
Part one, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion—currently on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center—establishes a modern vocabulary of American fashion based on its expressive qualities.