Claire McCardell wearing her “Future dress” (detail), 1945 / Photo by Erwin Blumenfeld © The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld 2023
Women Dressing Women
Dec 7, 2023 – Mar 10, 2024
The Met
New York, USA

The Costume Institute’s fall 2023 exhibition will explore the creativity and artistic legacy of women fashion designers from The Met’s permanent collection, tracing a lineage of makers from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day by highlighting celebrated designers, new voices, and forgotten histories alike.

Women Dressing Women will feature the work of over seventy womenswear designers, spanning ca. 1910 to today, including French haute couture from houses such as Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Madeleine Vionnet, to American makers like Ann Lowe, Claire McCardell, and Isabel Toledo, along with contemporary designs by Iris van Herpen, Rei Kawakubo, Anifa Mvuemba, and Simone Rocha.

In the words of Anifa Mvuemba: “When I stopped trying to fit into an industry that unfortunately wasn’t ready to embrace me, I quickly began to see milestones of success.” She introduced the “Pink Label Congo” collection during one such pivotal moment, following the cancellation of her New York runway debut due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mvuemba utilized lockdown to create a virtual presentation that was the first of its kind, digitally rendered and launched via Instagram, featuring garments animated by invisible bodies beneath. Her highly symbolic “Kinshasa” dress, featured in Women Dressing Women, references the collection’s dedication to African seamstresses and draws its colors from the Congolese flag, the hues emblematic of suffering (red), peace (blue), and hope (yellow).

  • Grey Crawford. Chroma, 1978–85, Vol 1
    Beam Editions

    In 1978 Grey Crawford created a body of colour photographic work that was so radical in its aesthetic and technique that few people to this day understand how it was made. Chroma documents late 70s Los Angeles in a period of radical urban transformation. Scenes of vernacular architecture, demolition sites and everyday places are contrasted with graphic forms that float on the surface and sit within the image. (more…)