Earlier today, we previewed the glamorous exhibition and spoke to Patrick Robinson, Gap's Executive VP of Global Design, who, along with Vogue's Anna Wintour and the indelible Oprah Winfrey, will serve as one of tonight's co-chairs.
Historically this event has been dubbed "The Party of the Year" and, as one can imagine, its organizational process starts nearly nine months out. "Anna called me about this last summer while I was in San Francisco," said Robinson. "It took me a moment to get back to her. But then I was with Don Fisher [founder The Gap who has since passed], and his wife, Doris. They had been taking me to dinner and telling me their thought process when they opened their first store in 1969, and it made sense. Plus, to me, Doris is the epitome of the American woman."
And while their are no actual pieces of Gap clothing hanging within the exhibit (yeah, we were a little surprised too), there are plenty of drool-worthy gowns pulled from the archives of not only the Met, but also the Brooklyn Museum's Costume Collection. (This marks the first time that the two institutions have collaborated.)
The main focus is on women from the 1890s to the 1940s and how those pivotal years affected women and fashion. Broken down into a series of archetypes, the exhibition begins with a focus on The Heiress (not you, Paris Hilton) circa 1890 in silk and satin tulle dresses embroidered with beads, sequin, and lace by the likes of House of Worth. Adding a particular sparkle to each of the mannequins' looks are shellacked wigs created by famed hair stylist Julien d'Ys.
Also epitomized at the exhibition is the long and lean Gibson Girl, the Poiret-wearing bohemian of the 1900s, WWI Patriots and Suffragists, the flirty and rebellious 1920s Flapper, and finally the sophisticated Siren. The latter features mannequins in bias-cut gowns by Vionnet, Charles James, and Madame Grès while black and white film clips of Kathrine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, and Marlene Dietrich are splayed in the background.
The final installation is a circular room with flashing images of iconic women from the 1890s to present day and Lenny Kravitz's reinterpreted rock n' roll anthem, "American Woman" serves as the soundtrack. Considered the modern day counterparts to each archetype, the Serena Williams, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Halle Berry, Tina Turner, Beyoncé, and Scarlett Johansson, (along with many others) are fittingly represented.
Want to check it out for yourself? Peruse the gallery below, courtesy of the museum. And if you're equally as intrigued as to who will be wearing what to tonight's celebrity-studded gala, then click here.
Costume Institute Exhibition Preview
Check out pieces and portraits from this year's Costume Institute Exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art