Visiting Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion? You must join the virtual exhibition queue when you arrive. If capacity has been reached for the day, the queue will close early.

Learn more
A woman stands half-concealed behind a blurred pane of glass, text "Women Dressing Women" visible in front and behind her.

Women Dressing Women

December 7, 2023–March 10, 2024
Previously on view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Galleries 980–981
Free with Museum admission

The Costume Institute's fall 2023 exhibition will explore the creativity and artistic legacy of women fashion designers from The Met’s permanent collection, tracing a lineage of makers from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day by highlighting celebrated designers, new voices, and forgotten histories alike.

Women Dressing Women will feature the work of over seventy womenswear designers, spanning ca. 1910 to today, including French haute couture from houses such as Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Madeleine Vionnet, to American makers like Ann Lowe, Claire McCardell, and Isabel Toledo, along with contemporary designs by Iris van Herpen, Rei Kawakubo, Anifa Mvuemba, and Simone Rocha.

A catalogue, published by The Met and distributed by Yale University Press, will accompany the exhibition.

The exhibition and catalogue are made possible by Morgan Stanley.

Morgan Stanley


Hanifa runway presentation excerpt, May 2020

Video, color, 11 min. 51 sec.

Courtesy Hanifa

In the words of Anifa Mvuemba: “When I stopped trying to fit into an industry that unfortunately wasn’t ready to embrace me, I quickly began to see milestones of success.” She introduced the “Pink Label Congo” collection during one such pivotal moment, following the cancellation of her New York runway debut due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mvuemba utilized lockdown to create a virtual presentation that was the first of its kind, digitally rendered and launched via Instagram, featuring garments animated by invisible bodies beneath. Her highly symbolic “Kinshasa” dress, featured in Women Dressing Women, references the collection’s dedication to African seamstresses and draws its colors from the Congolese flag, the hues emblematic of suffering (red), peace (blue), and hope (yellow).

Latest reviews

In whispers and songs, silk faille and satin, cotton and wool, it reimagines the record of fashion, filling in the gaps and wardrobes of history with names and pieces long, and wrongly, forgotten; elevating them, finally, to the pedestals on which they belong.

New York Times

While there is no shortage of striking and often au courant designs, there also are boundary-shifting garments and juxtapositions that magnify topics beyond legacy, sexism, and history. If visitors don’t just glide through the galleries and stop to read the detailed wall text, they will leave with much to consider and debate.

Women’s Wear Daily

The curators have placed a lot of emphasis on the collective nature of clothes making. Stepping away from the idea of the lone genius, their focus has been tracing a lineage of female fashion design. It is in the celebration of what Huber describes as a 'constellation' of talent that 'Women Dressing Women' shines.

Claire McCardell wearing her “Future dress” (detail), 1945. Photo by Erwin Blumenfeld. © The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld 2023