February 26, 2013

Impressionism, Fashion, & Modernity

On Saturday afternoon, my friend Kaitlin and I paid a visit to the Met to see the new Impressionism, Fashion, & Modernity exhibit. The exhibit formally opens to the public today, but since Kaitlin is a member, we were permitted to see it early. It was still crowded, but that's what you get on a rainy Saturday. Slightly drippy umbrellas in hand we explored the halls. I loved it. It was wonderful.

The exhibit featured paintings of ladies and gentlemen in their fancy lives in the late 1800s paired with fashions of the time very similar to the ones worn on canvas. Each room held at least two dresses with the walls blanketed by scenes of ladies wearing extremely similar pieces. I kept looking back and forth, examining the details of the dresses encased and on canvas. The sleeves of the dress in one painting nearly matched the dress on display, while the skirt of another could pass for the same. It was very interesting to compare them. They were all paired so well.

There was only one dress that was actually featured in a painting. A lovely purple striped design that reminded me of a dress Mary wore on Downton Abbey. It belonged to the artist's wife, the subject of the paiting. The placard said that she had died several years after it had been painted and the heartbroken artist preserved the dress. It looked to be in remarkable condition after nearly two hundred years. They all were. There were also a few corsets on display. Oh my. These women were tiny. I doubt a modern seven year old could squeeze into one. It truly is amazing. All of the waistlines on the dresses, the corsets. I remember a scene in Gone with the Wind where Vivien Leigh's Scarlet O'Hara makes a comment about having a twenty inch waist. Judging by the size of these things, she wasn't kidding. It's so interesting to see how people have changed over time, everything from how we style ourselves to how we've grown taller and wider. It really makes you think.

If you should find yourself in the area, I recommend this exhibit!

1 comment :

  1. Ohhh you're so lucky! I LOVE Impressionism!
    Nice post! :)

    x Vonyll


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