A new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened yesterday that features a beautiful mix of artwork, period costume and photographs. Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity is a comprehensive study of the role fashion played in impressionist artist's depiction of modern life.
The mid to late 1880's marked the debut of the department store and ready-to-wear. Fashion magazines were also becoming more and more popular. Stylish society wanted to show off and be documented as trendsetters. The museum shows iconic pieces from fine artists like Monet's Luncheon in the Grass and Renoir's The Loge. These are artists that I had always appreciated for impressionism, but I never thought of them in a 'fashion' context. Seeing this exhibit, I realized (just like today) the depiction of people in the most current fashions was one of the most effective ways to demonstrate the modernity of the times.
I am a new fan of portraitist James Tissot whose work depicting society clients resulted in gorgeous paintings of daily life (of the rich).
As for the fashion in the exhibit, they were broken down into rooms depicting airy white dresses, or mourning dresses in black of elaborate lace. Soutache embroidery was popular at a time, menswear, corsets, accessories. Elaborate dresses worn in the evening like premier couturiers, Charles Worth were also displayed.
This is one of the best exhibits that truly show blend the mix of fine art and fashion together and one you need to check out! Exhibit ends May 27, 2013.