Almost everyone has heard of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, better known as The Met – you know, the place where celebs arrive to impress once a year for the Met Gala with the most fabulous, fashionable, and outrageous outfits. But have you heard of the latest fashion exhibit to line the iconic halls of the 2 million-square-foot building? Over 100 outfits cover 2 floors and numerous rooms for A Lexicon of America (a special 1-year only exhibit), all which represent different emotions and situations a person experiences in their everyday life. Each exhibit also illustrates through clothing progressive emotions through the decades, dating back to the mid-to-late 20th century.
When I traveled to The Met during Thanksgiving 2021, I was pleasantly surprised to see outfits representing situations that I hadn’t thought of before. One outfit that particularly struck me was a brilliant blue ruffled dress when I walked down the staircase leading to the first floor rooms. The blue dress represented ebullience (and if you don’t know what that word means — don’t worry, I didn’t at first either!), which is defined as cheerful and energetic, which this dress definitely was. This sapphire-colored dream played with depth and looked like something you could wear to a dance, wedding reception, or another special occasion. This was by far my favorite dress in the exhibit! This dress was designed by Rodarte, Kate Mulleavy, and Laura Mulleavy.
Other themes represented in this exhibit included sweetness, joy, playfulness, preciousness, innocence, vibrancy, naiveté (the quality or state of being naïve), humor, artfulness, spontaneity, and many others.
Personally, I enjoyed the artfulness theme because of the unique perspective given from designer Fabrice Simon. The dress incorporated pink silk georgette fabric with black crystals and beads embroidered onto it. The bubble-gum pink dress looked as though someone drew a bunch of abstract lines on it, and then colored in each segment with bright colors … side note – when I say “drew,” I mean that the artist was playful with the fabric and design (of course!). The beads were perfectly integrated throughout the dress and the theme which added to the impact that inspired visitors walking by.
One other item in particular that intrigued me was a rather sizeable quilt that draped one of the walls of the first-floor exhibit. This quilt, made by Adeline Harris, is created of diamond squares Harris herself distributed to famous and influential figures of the 19th century. Her ask was for these individuals to provide a message on the square to be incorporated into the quilt. If you look carefully, you will find eight American presidents’ autographs within this quilt (including Abraham Lincoln himself), along with Northern military heroes of the Civil War, antislavery political leaders, luminaries of the science world, and many others.
If you ever find yourself in NYC, make sure to head to The Met to check out this fantastic exhibit! Be sure to visit the exhibit before September 2022, as the exhibit is only available from September 18, 2021 through September 5, 2022. Have fun exploring The Met!