Part Two, In America: An Anthology of Fashion
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
May 2, 2022

In celebration of Part Two, In America: An Anthology of Fashion, The Costume Institute or better known as the Met Gala will return Monday, May 2, 2022 in New York. The event provides The Costume Institute with its primary source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, operations, and capital improvements. Regina King, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, and Lin-Manuel Miranda will serve as the evening’s co-chairs. Tom Ford, Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour will continue their roles as honorary co-chairs for the event, following last September’s benefit for Part One of the In America exhibition.

Officially opening to the public on May 7, In America: An Anthology of Fashion will explore the foundations of American fashion through a series of sartorial displays featuring individual designers and dressmakers who worked in the United States from the 19th to the mid-late 20th century. 

A dinner dress by Mme. Grapanache, dated from 1884–86. The Gilded Age design is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The show will feature approximately 100 examples of men’s and women’s dress from this formative period that reveal unfinished stories about American fashion. The garments will be presented within the rich atmospheric setting of the Museum’s American Wing period rooms, or historical interiors, which encapsulate a curated survey of more than a century of American domestic life and reveal a variety of stories—from the personal to the political, the stylistic to the cultural, and the aesthetic to the ideological. The complicated social, cultural, and artistic narratives of these spaces amplify and contextualize the exhibition’s key themes—the inception of an identifiable American style and the emergence of the named designer, who is recognized for their distinct artistic sensibility.

Inspired by the curatorial vision of Andrew Bolton, Jessica Regan, and Amelia Peck, eight film directors —Janicza Bravo, Sofia Coppola, Julie Dash, Tom Ford, Regina King, Martin Scorsese, Autumn de Wilde, and Chloé Zhao—will create fictional cinematic vignettes, or “freeze frames,” within each room, imparting new perspectives on American fashion and highlighting the directors’ singular aesthetics. Together, these dynamic and interconnected elements will offer a nuanced portrait of American fashion and the individuals who defined it during this pivotal period.

Exhibition Preview- In America: A Lexicon of Fashion

In addition, six “case studies” will be incorporated into the American Wing galleries beyond the period rooms, offering an in-depth look at historical garments that distill key moments in the development of American fashion from the 19th to the mid-late 20th century. Evoking buoyancy is a one-of-a-kind gown by Off-White, c/o Virgil Abloh. Commissioned for the In America exhibition, the gown, comprised of cotton and silk chiffon, was designed as a meditation on the beauty and brutality of cotton production from the 19th century to the present. Its shape recalls the fashionable silhouette. of the mid-19th century interpreted through Off-White’s design vocabulary, including a T-shirt of white cotton knit twisted over the bust in the style of a 1950s evening bodice. 

“The second rotation of  In America: A Lexicon of Fashion  introduces many new garments as well as many new designers to further examine the expressive qualities underpinning American fashion. The show’s yearlong timeframe has allowed us to experiment with a new methodology that reflects the concept of fashion as a living, breathing art form, one that speaks powerfully to the zeitgeist. It has enabled us to engage directly with current conversations—both artistic and cultural—that are directing and defining the future of fashion, reflecting The Costume Institute’s ongoing ambition to present ‘fashion history in the making.” – Andrew Bolton, the Wendy You Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute.

Parts One and Two will be on view concurrently; Part One, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, is on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center and celebrates The Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary. Starting March 21, more than half of the pieces in the Lexicon exhibition will be rotated out, and garments by designers not yet featured—as well as designers whose work appeared in the first rotation—will be displayed. These additions will reflect the vitality and diversity of contemporary American fashion. Parts One and Two will close on September 5, 2022. Part One of In America is organized by Andrew Bolton and Amanda Garfinkel, Assistant Curator, and The Costume Institute Curatorial team in consultation with Patricia Marroquin Norby, The Met’s Associate Curator of Native American Art.

Part Two of In America is a collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Museum’s American Wing. It is the final installment of The Costume Institute’s trilogy of period-room shows, which began with Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century (2004) in the French Period Rooms and was followed by AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion (2006) in the English Period Rooms. The exhibition is made possible by Instagram, and additional support is provided by Condé Nast.

Exhibition Tour-In America: A Lexicon of Fashion with Andrew Bolton

Designers whose work is on view in the second rotation include Anna Sui, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Brandon Maxwell, Ralph Lauren, Savage X Fenty, Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs, YEOHLEE, Tom Ford, Collina Strada, Bill Blass, Diane Von Furstenburg, Ji Won Choi, Barragán, EMME Studio, Charles James, Off-White, Evan Ducharme, Willy Chavarria, Jason Wu, Mimi Prober, Grace Ling, Margaret Roach Wheeler, Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler, Claudia Li, Pyer Moss, Rodarte and many more.


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