American Woman


According to its website, the current fashion exhibition at the Met Museum in New York City, American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity, aims to explore “developing perceptions of the modern American woman, from 1890 to 1940, and how they have affected the way American women are seen today” by focusing on “how the American woman initiated style revolutions that mirrored her social, political, and sexual emancipation.” One can’t help but notice, however, that much of the elaborate fashions on display are of European origin (rather than American), and certainly belonged only to women from a very narrow social segment of early 20th century America. Yet, the exhibition is worth visiting just for the exquisitely detailed fashion vignettes on display, inspiring hand-sewn gowns, and gravity-defying wigs courtesy of Vogue favorite Julien d’Ys. Our favorite looks? The draped silk Madame Grès gowns and Edward Molyneux beaded flapper dresses—they don’t make ’em quite like this anymore.

American Woman runs through August 15 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Avenue, NYC

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