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In America: A Lexicon of Fashion

September 18, 2021–September 5, 2022
Previously on view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Galleries 980–981
Free with Museum admission

The Costume Institute’s In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, launches a two-part exploration of fashion in the United States in the Anna Wintour Costume Center. It establishes a modern vocabulary of American fashion based on its expressive qualities.

This portion of the exhibition uses the organizing principle of a patchwork quilt. A signature quilt begun in 1856 from The Met's American Wing collection opens the show, and serves as a metaphor for the United States and its varied cultural identities.

Approximately 100 men’s and women’s ensembles by a diverse range of designers from the 1940s to the present are featured. Enclosed in scrimmed cases that represent three-dimensional “patches” of a quilt, they are organized into 12 sections that explore defining emotional qualities: Nostalgia, Belonging, Delight, Joy, Wonder, Affinity, Confidence, Strength, Desire, Assurance, Comfort, and Consciousness.

Part two, In America: An Anthology of Fashion—opening in the American Wing period rooms on May 7, 2022—will present sartorial narratives that relate to the complex and layered histories of those rooms.


Planning to visit?

Capacity is limited and access is first come, first served. General Museum tickets do not guarantee admission to this exhibition. If galleries are at capacity near the end of the day, the line to enter may close early. Strollers are not permitted. Met Members can experience the exhibition without the crowds during Morning Hours Thursdays 9–10 am. Join today.

The exhibition is made possible by Instagram.

Additional support is provided by

Join Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, for a tour of the exhibition.

Watch a video preview of the exhibition.


“Gay Guerilla” Composed by Julius Dunbar Eastman
Published by Music Sales Corporation (ASCAP) on behalf of itself and Eastman Music Publishing Company (ASCAP).
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Latest reviews

Really terrific opening room… the whole thing may make visitors think twice about American fashion, which was the goal.

The New York Times

I loved the long wall featuring a lineage of classic American design… 'In America' is not just a lexicon, it’s a primer on the industry’s newest talents.

Wall Street Journal

…offers an impressive aerial view of the current variety and diversity of American fashion… delivers a powerful emotional experience.

Marquee: “VEIL FLAG” by S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA., 2020. Courtesy of Sterling Ruby Studio. Photography by Melanie Schiff.