AN INTERESTING TAKE ON EXPLORING FASHION TODAY
Heavenly Bodies, Fashion and the Catholic Imagination opened this week at the Met on Fifth Avenue and at the Cloisters. Having only seen the show on Fifth Avenue I am indeed curious to explore the exhibit at the tip of Manhattan.
The start of the show is a very small trove lent by the Vatican itself. The workmanship and richness of the objects is stunning, The intricate embroidery and labor that went into the pieces is superb. Not being a Catholic, I am not conversant in the actual terms for the items, not their exact use, but I can appreciate the artistry that went into making them. It is exciting that the Vatican lent pieces for the first time. The items are mainly from the 19th and early 20th century, and makes one hope that the Vatican would present a show of the many, many earlier treasures that are hidden in their archives. That would be truly historic. We see many of these magnificent garments and accoutrements in paintings done over the centuries. Historically art was commissioned by the Church and the rulers of the West, and the subject of religion was the focus of art until the Renaissance opened new doors. Did it inspire designers? Yes.
While the pieces lent by the Vatican are grouped together, the more modern pieces are scattered all over the Byzantine and Medieval galleries, and Robert Lehman wing on the ground floor. The 2 pieces above from Versace and placed in hidden spaces in the Byzantine Galleries, show where the image inspiration was drawn from. The jewelry from Verdura and Chanel, who also famously wore Verdura, are tucked into a cabinet with real Byzantine jewelry.
Also placed in these galleries a Lacroix jacket and a Dolce Gabbana dress. The 2 corridors leading through the Byzantine are lined with spectacular Dolce Gabbana and Versace floating above the gallery. The inspiration is Byzantine.
As one moves into the Medieval Galleries the clothing is displayed with great imagination. Two pieces from Mugler and a Jeanne Lanvin are installed in inspiring ways. The installation of the show both highlights and takes advantage of these galleries. To the benefit of the amazing art in the galleries.
Brides? Of course. Galliano for Dior, St Laurent and Lacroix offer different couture visions. Study the level of workmanship.
Statement pieces? You need to come investigate for yourself. Galliano for Dior and Alexander McQueen embody different kinds of artisty.
Jewelry and body art from Chanel and McQueen. Heavenly indeed.
Gaultier, McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent have different takes. All amazing.
Dreamily beautiful couture by Christobal Balenciaga and Valentino extol elegance and inner peace.
More somber clothes are lined up in the Great Hall.
Americans are represented as well. Rodarte is in the Lehman Galleries.
The show is a must see. The clothing is beautiful, there is no doubt about that.
The installation is genius. In your face as well as hidden. One needs to explore and search for the garments. How many of you have looked at or cared about Medieval Art? Now is your chance to appreciate it surrounded by another, younger type of genius.
Designers take inspiration from everywhere. They always have been cultural sponges and magpies, reflecting and interpreting. Should they take inspiration from earlier centuries? Please do. On through September 9, 2018.
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Barbara Hodes is the owner of New York City Private Shopping Tour.