In America: An Anthology of Fashion

May 7–September 5, 2022
Previously on view at The Met Fifth Avenue, Gallery 600
Free with Museum admission

In America: An Anthology of Fashion explores defining moments in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American fashion. Following earlier exhibitions in the Museum’s French and English historical interiors—Dangerous Liaisons (2004) and AngloMania (2006)—this presentation centers around the complex and layered histories of the American period rooms, which provide curated windows into over three hundred years of domestic life.

Within the rooms are a series of focused narratives that reflect larger developments, such as the emergence of an identifiable American style and the rise of the named designer as an individual recognized for their distinct creative vision. In this way, Anthology also provides a historical grounding for the companion exhibition, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion—currently on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center (Galleries 980 and 981)—which offers an expansive reflection on defining qualities of fashion in the United States.

The installations take the form of cinematic vignettes that enliven the stories and highlight the intimate and immersive aspects of the rooms. These fictional tableaux were created by nine film directors: Radha Blank, Janicza Bravo, Sofia Coppola, Julie Dash, Tom Ford, Regina King, Martin Scorsese, Autumn de Wilde, and Chloe Zhao. Seven “case studies” offer in-depth, forensic analyses of individual costumes that function as connecting threads. Together, they comprise an anthology that challenges and complicates received histories, offering a more nuanced and less monolithic reading of American fashion, and American culture more broadly.