Models as Muse

May 4, 2009 5:16:10 PM PDT
A new fashion exhibit is opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Harold Koda is the curator of the museum's Costume Institute.

The newest exhibit here is about the Model as Muse, which he thinks will appeal to just about everyone.

"Even though it's about ideal beauty, it's also about a range of beauty," Koda said. "We look at the power of clothing, fashion photography, and the model to project the look of an era. With a mere gesture, a truly stellar model can sum up the attitude of her time ? becoming not only a muse to designers or photographers, but a muse to a generation."

Mannequins, photos and magazines tell the story of how the ideal of beauty has changed.

In the 1940s and 50s, for example, to be ladylike was to be beautiful.

That took a drastic turn in the 60s, according to the exhibits co-curator.

"The womanly figure goes out," Kohle Yohannan said.

Twiggy with her adolescent like body was the bastion of beauty, for a decade and clothes were playful and even futuristic.

Then in the 70s, disco was hot. The looks by Valentino and Halston were sultry. Models like Beverly Johnson were making news and making the covers of magazines.

She was a predecessor to the super models of the 80s, a time when beautiful women could command big bucks.

In the 1990s, grunge was the look and the model who best personified it was Kate Moss -- skinny and more petite than those who came before.

At the end of the last decade, fewer models became mega stars, perhaps because nowadays more and more women of all different looks are considered beautiful.

The exhibition features approximately 80 masterworks of haute couture and ready-to-wear. Fashion editorial, advertising, and runway photography plus large- scale projections from feature films are used throughout the galleries to contextualize the fashion zeitgeist.

The exhibit opens on Wednesday, May 6 and continues through August 9.

Learn on the museum's website at
http://www.metmuseum.org


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