On exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until August 9th, “The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion,” is a fascinating exhibit tracing the evolution of fashion and beauty throughout the 20th century. Through the idealized aesthetic of the fashion model, the exhibit shows the evolving relationships between the model as a muse to not only designers, photographers, and the fashion world at large, but to project a persona representative of an era. From the ‘Golden Era of Haute Couture’ to the cultural crosscurrents of the sixties to the geometrically derived futurism of the ‘Youthquake' to the 'Body Politic' of the seventies, each decade reveals a shift in cultural, societal and political values.
The installations are a sensory overload. Between the video and music instillations to the beautifully restored gowns and surreal wigs created by the spectacular Julien D’Ys, each room embodies the fashion and sartorial evolution of women’s dress. Standing in front of Richard Avedon’s iconic photograph, “Dovima and the Elephants,” I overheard a delightful conversation of two ladies discussing the first time this photograph was published in 1955 and I really couldn’t help but smile. In this way, the exhibit has something to offer everyone: the historian, the photographer, the politician, the art lover to just a general appreciation of how much we are all driven and inspired by the muses of our respective generations.