The Metropolitan Museum of Art invited me to a private viewing of their latest exhibition "Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity. The museum is closed to the public on Mondays so being in the almost empty space was a unique experience in itself. A staff member walked me through the exhibition as I documented what inspired me. Normally, the security guards would yell, "no photography" but today was special, they watched me snap away. What a great feeling!
This new exhibition puts a focus on the role that fashion played in the works of the impressionists and their contemporaries. The met has paired some of the most major works from this movement with period costumes, accessories, fashion plates, photographs and popular prints which clearly illustrate a vital and vibrant relationship between fashion and art from the mid 1860s to the mid 1880s.
A cornerstone of the impressionist movement is reflected by Charles Baudelaire’s definition of modernity—“the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent”—they sought to capture the “look of the moment." Paris was becoming the style capital of the world. Ready to wear was now a reality as were department stores. Fashion magazines were becoming popular. Parisienne life was becoming a bustling boulevard. For an artistic movement that's mission was to capture the feeling of the times, this new way fashion was moving, with its trends and novelty, proved an alluring subject. A subject that could focus on the clothes but that could also show the relationship people were developing because of the clothes. The relationship of the sales girl to the customer, the relationship of the hat to the millinery girl putting it on the form. By embracing the new fashion they were able to caption the new modernity.
Featuring works by Monet, Manet, Renoir and Degas (to name a few)The Met has put an exhibition together that puts into context the importance of fashion to one of the most loved and recognized art movements. It also serves as a reflection on the importance of fashion in art today and how it still informs artists to capture "the look of the moment."
The exhibition goes on until May 27th, 2013, so pay them a visit if your interested. To learn more please click here.