While the world-renowned Costume Institute was officially added to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1946, the department didn't attract many visitors during its early years — like many museums, their traditional costume displays featured relatively bland settings, causing the clothes to seem “lifeless” and archaic. That all changed when Diana Vreeland, the former Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, joined the museum in 1972, and used showy theatrical displays to make historical fashion more glamorous and exciting for modern audiences.
The scale and popularity of fashion exhibitions have continued to skyrocket in recent years, regularly attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to museums, while proving that fashion is a subject worthy of serious consideration. This is the story of how fashion exhibitions became blockbuster spectacles, raising the status of fashion from a frivolous pursuit to a true form of art.
Join New York Adventure Club as we explore the history of fashion exhibitions by taking a deep-dive into how they enrich our understanding of history and culture.
Led by fashion historian Sara Idacavage, this fast-paced webinar with interactive elements along the way will include:
A crash-course through the history of fashion exhibitions, from examples of groundbreaking curators to shows that changed how the world views fashion and art
A discussion on the central debates that have surrounded fashion exhibitions from their inception, including issues related to commercialism, historical accuracy, and even the concept of fashion as a form of art
A look at the importance of material culture and what we can learn from examining historic garments and accessories, as well as the unique challenges that curators and conservators face when working with these types of objects
A behind-the-scenes glimpse into what goes into creating fashion exhibitions, from selecting themes to building mannequins that must be customized for each piece
A virtual tour of some of the best online fashion exhibitions and collections, demonstrating how it’s still possible to enjoy the museum experience from the comforts of home
Stick around afterward for a Q&A with Sara, who will be ready to answer any-and-all questions about exhibitions and the history of fashion!
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