Eight film directors contribute to Costume Institute’s Spring 2022 show

Ball gown, Marguery Bolhagen (American, 1920–2021), ca. 1961; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Jr., 1966 (2009.300.2556a, b). The Richard and Gloria Manney John Henry Belter Rococo Revival Parlor, ca. 1850, Gift of Sirio D. Molteni and Rita M. Pooler, 1965 (Inst.65.4). Photo © Dario Calmese, 2021.

Ball gown, Marguery Bolhagen (American, 1920–2021), circa 1961; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Jr., 1966 (2009.300.2556a, b). The Richard and Gloria Manney John Henry Belter Rococo Revival Parlor, circa 1850, Gift of Sirio D. Molteni and Rita M. Pooler, 1965 (Inst.65.4). Photograph © Dario Calmese, 2021.

NEW YORK – The Costume Institute’s 2022 spring exhibition, In America: An Anthology of Fashion — the second of a two-part presentation — 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. In America: An Anthology of Fashion will open on May 7 and close on September 5. In celebration of its debut, The Costume Institute Benefit (also known as The Met Gala™) will coincide with the opening date of the show. The benefit provides The Costume Institute with its primary source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, operations and capital improvements.

Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, remarked: “Part Two, which explores the foundations of American fashion in relation to the complex histories of the American Wing period rooms, serves as a preface to the concise dictionary of American fashion presented in Part One. Whereas Lexicon explores a new language of American fashion, Anthology uncovers unfamiliar sartorial narratives filtered through the imaginations of some of America’s most visionary film directors. It is through these largely hidden stories that a nuanced picture of American fashion comes into focus — one in which the sum of its parts are as significant as the whole.”

In America: An Anthology of Fashion will feature approximately 100 examples of men’s and women’s dress dating from the 19th to the mid-late 20th century that reveal unfinished stories about American fashion. The garments will be presented within the rich atmospheric setting of The Met’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 distinct artistic vision.

Inspired by the curatorial vision of Andrew Bolton, Jessica Regan and Amelia Peck, eight film directors 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.

Directors contributing to the exhibition include Janicza Bravo in the Rococo Revival Parlor and Gothic Revival Library; Sofia Coppola in the McKim, Mead and White Stair Hall and Worsham-Rockefeller Dressing Room; Julie Dash in the Greek Revival Parlor and Renaissance Revival Room; Tom Ford in the gallery showcasing John Vanderlyn’s panoramic 1819 mural of Versailles; Regina King in a 19th-century parlor from Richmond, Virginia; Martin Scorsese in a 20th-century living room designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; Autumn de Wilde in the Baltimore and Benkard Rooms; and Chloe Zhao in a Shaker Retiring Room from the 1830s. These mise-en-scenes will reveal the role of dress in shaping the diverse nature of American identities and explore the layered histories of the rooms’ settings.

Designers whose work will be featured in Anthology include: Bill Blass, Marguery Bolhagen, Brooks Brothers, Stephen Burrows, Fannie Criss Payne, Josephine H. Egan, Franziska Noll Gross, Halston, Elizabeth Hawes, Eta Hentz, L.P. Hollander & Co, Charles James, Anne Klein, Ann Lowe, Claire McCardell, Lucie Monnay, Lloyd “Kiva” New, Norman Norell, Madame Olympe, Oscar de la Renta, Nettie Rosenstein, Herman Rossberg and Jessie Franklin Turner.

Parts One and Two will be on view concurrently and will close on September 5. A special feature on the Museum’s website, www.metmuseum.org/InAmericaAnthology, provides further information about the exhibition. Follow us on Facebook.com/metmuseum, Instagram.com/metmuseum, and Twitter.com/metmuseum to join the conversation about the exhibition and gala. Use #MetInAmerica, #CostumeInstitute, @MetCostumeInstitute, and #MetGala on Instagram and Twitter.

Visit the website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and see its dedicated page for In America: An Anthology of Fashion.