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The Costume Institute

Anna Wintour Costume Center | Charles James: Beyond Fashion

The Costume Institute's collection of more than thirty-five thousand costumes and accessories represents five continents and seven centuries of fashionable dress, regional costumes, and accessories for men, women, and children, from the fifteenth century to the present.

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Charles James: Beyond Fashion—Interview with Conservators Sarah Scaturro and Glenn Petersen

Rachel High, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sarah Scaturro and Glenn Petersen are conservators in The Costume Institute who not only contributed to the conservation of Charles James's works in Charles James: Beyond Fashion, on view through August 10, but also authored an essay for the catalogue which accompanies the exhibition. The book offers a comprehensive study of the life and work of legendary Anglo-American couturier Charles James (1906−1978) and highlights his virtuosity and inventiveness. This publication also includes early photographs and rarely seen archival items, such as muslin study pieces, dress forms, and sketches.

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Charles James: Beyond Fashion—Interview with Photographer Karin L. Willis

Rachel High, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I recently sat down with Karin L. Willis, the photographer for the Charles James: Beyond Fashion catalogue that accompanies the current exhibition of James's work, on view through August 10. The publication offers a comprehensive study of the life and work of the legendary Anglo-American couturier Charles James (1906−1978), highlights his virtuosity and inventiveness, and includes early photographs and rarely seen archival items—including muslin study pieces, dress forms, and sketches. During our conversation Karin spoke about the challenging but rewarding process of photographing James's designs.

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Interview with Charles James: Beyond Fashion Co-author Jan Glier Reeder

Rachel High, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Costume Institute's 2014 exhibition, Charles James: Beyond Fashion, opens May 8 and offers a comprehensive study of the life and work of legendary Anglo-American couturier Charles James (1906−1978). In the accompanying exhibition catalogue, co-author Jan Glier Reeder—consulting curator in The Costume Institute for the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art—highlights James's virtuosity and inventiveness, as well as his influence on future generations of fashion designers. This publication also includes early photographs and rarely seen archival items, such as muslin study pieces, dress forms, and sketches.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Opens The Costume Institute's Anna Wintour Costume Center

Nancy Chilton, Head of Communications for The Costume Institute

Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Yesterday morning, First Lady Michelle Obama cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of The Costume Institute's new Anna Wintour Costume Center, which has just undergone a two-year renovation. The space will reopen to the public this Thursday, May 8, with the exhibition Charles James: Beyond Fashion.

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Near Neighbors: Brooklyn Dressmakers in the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

P. Grace Hernandez, 2010–11 Polaire Weissman Fellow, The Costume Institute

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013

When the Brooklyn Museum transferred its costume collection to the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute in January 2009, the Met acquired an impressive array of garments from renowned European and American designers. Some highlights from the collection were featured in the related 2010 exhibitions American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity at the Met and American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection at the Brooklyn Museum. Yet the collection also contains a set of objects with noteworthy local origins: garments and accessories made by Brooklyn-based clothing and accessory makers—milliners, tailors, and dressmakers—working independently or in department stores during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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Spring Fashion Forecast for The Costume Institute = PUNK

Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Costume Institute's next exhibition swerves to the streets and clubs of New York and London, then to ateliers and runways with PUNK: Chaos to Couture. The exhibition, on view from May 9 through August 11, 2013, will examine punk's impact from the 1970s to its continuing influence on high fashion now.

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Today in Met History: December 13

Julie Tran Lê, Library Associate, The Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library

Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sixty-five years ago today, on December 13, 1946, The Costume Institute's first exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum opened to the public.

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The Met's Online Community Responds to McQueen

Lucy Redoglia, Associate Online Community Producer, Digital Media

Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011

At the Met, we're always eager to hear from our online community through our various social media channels. Whether it's a comment about the Featured Artwork of the Day on our Facebook page, a question posed on Twitter, or a photograph posted to our Flickr group pool, our online visitors' responses are thoughtful and varied, and we enjoy reading and responding to them. Recently, the exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty provided the Museum with an opportunity to hear from our online community in a new way; on a special McQueen page, we invited visitors to answer the question "What made you realize that fashion is an art form?" Not surprisingly, we received a wonderful range of responses, and we're excited to share them with you.

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McQueen and Tartan

Jonathan Faiers, Reader in Fashion Theory at Winchester School of Art

Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2011

Alexander McQueen had a unique understanding of the dramatic potential of tailoring, as well as of how the actual fabric of a garment is intrinsic both to its shape and historical, cultural, and psychological impact. In the exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, a retrospective of the late designer's work, we can appreciate the designer's superb craftsmanship up close; from shells to feathers, from traditional embroidery to cutting-edge digital print, we see the dazzling array of textile techniques that cemented his reputation as the most inventive fashion designer of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

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Winner of McQueen Fashion Design Contest Selected

Shannon Bell Price, Associate Research Curator, The Costume Institute

Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2011

In conjunction with the exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art held a competition for fashion design graduate students this spring. The winner was announced at the Met's McQueen for a Night event on May 20; Paula Cheng, a student at Parsons The New School for Design, won the contest and received an internship at Alexander McQueen, a yearlong Metropolitan Museum Membership, and several other exhibition-related prizes.

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Now at the Met offers in-depth articles and multimedia features about the Museum's current exhibitions, events, research, announcements, behind-the-scenes activities, and more.