In America: a lexicon of fashion it is a sincere reflection that cuts the past into perspective to give new ideas to the future of fashion made in the USA. Twelve sections mark the tour divided into the two wings that the Metropolitan Museum in New York dedicates to costume. Moving fromAnna Wintour Costume Center until to period rooms, we meet those symbols that enter the collective imagination from the narrative of the American newspaper. The dress, which is the central theme of the show the MET, is framed with the lens of nostalgia, belonging to a system, pleasure, joy, wonder, affinity, self-confidence, strength, desire, reassurance for the other, comfort and of ethical conscience; interior design, both in its project and object dimensions, is revealed in the form of a participant in the achievement of the goal that is called “well-being” in the country with stars and stripes.
Hieratic in their white cases and bathed in diffused light, i clothes that yesterday we left in the chair before undressing to go to sleep, they seem more like the saints of the renaissance altarpieces, distant, immutable and perfect, than to the window pieces of Macy’s or Saks Fifth Avenue. To keep them together, for almost a century, there is that coherence that often escapes a glance that rests on the single name or on the gender label, whether casual or sport or cocktail (honorable mention, leaving the ornament typically European in favor of the excess aimed at the dismay of the masses, here the lords from overseas are unsurpassed) and which translates into the desire to give themselves a thickness, a corpus, an archive from which the new generations can draw to definitively free themselves from hegemony of Paris, London and Milan.
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The lexicon, then, is diversity intended to unite, to gather in “a quilt”, as the democratic activist Jasse Jackson defined it in 1988, the voices of the workers of the Detroit auto industry, those of the surfers of the West Coast , of the Boston lawyers, of the computer engineers of Silicon Valley, of the explorers of Oregon and Alaska, of the neon and concrete vitalities that populate the metropolises and the endless post-boom urban agglomerations. Suddenly we realize that Claire McCardell’s bon-ton figure of the ideal woman of 1943, is the same as Halston and Diane von Furstenberg of the mid-seventies, and of Michael Kors of 2020, is a measured pop, made of gabardine, of prints minimal, with golden touches; so the various “leagues”, which are preppy and identity, from Perry Ellis to Tommy Hilfiger to Ralph Lauren up to Fear of God: knitwear and logomania. In the evening, the prom, the event, they have the masters named Charles James (British married to the dream that was sold on Ellis Island), Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Oscar De La Renta, each capable to exasperate and summarize the feelings of one’s time. Again, there are the working class uniforms, which later became those adopted by those who, without work, put them on in protest; there are forays into art and a great protagonist declined in all its applications, denim. Only the white t-shirt is missing, an absence that is felt.
When we arrive in the rooms where these creations lived, we clearly see how the dress was given the task of informing the environment and vice versa; it is architecture translated into modeling and fabric but also into furnishings, something that only here has managed to define and structure itself in a stratification that becomes tasteful.
On the red carpet of the opening night, the most striking tribute to this construction of thought was signed by the most beloved Italian of the Hollywood star system, Donatella Versace; for her, to interpret it in a river of blue and bronze reflections, which are those of the liberty skyscrapers overlooking Central Park, the actress Blake Lively.
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