Costume Institute’s Fall 2019 Exhibition Celebrates Sandy Schreier Collection
|November 27, 2019–September 27, 2020
|The Met Fifth Avenue, Anna Wintour Costume Center
The Costume Institute’s fall 2019 exhibition, In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, features promised gifts from Sandy Schreier, a pioneering collector who over the course of more than half a century assembled one of the finest private fashion collections in the United States. On view from November 27, 2019, through September 27, 2020, the show explores how Schreier amassed a trove of 20th-century French and American couture and ready-to-wear, not as a wardrobe, but as an appreciation of a form of creative expression.
The gift is part of The Met’s 2020 Collections Initiative celebrating the Museum’s 150th anniversary.
“Sandy Schreier’s gift—one of the largest in recent Costume Institute history—dramatically enriches the Museum’s holdings of 20th-century fashion,” said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. “We are thrilled and honored to receive these important treasures, and we look forward to presenting an exhibition that celebrates the exceptional artistry of the objects and reflects on the origins and impact of this tremendous collection.”
The exhibition features approximately 80 of the 165 promised gifts, selected from Schreier’s extensive collection by Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute; and Jessica Regan, Associate Curator. On view in The Costume Institute’s Anna Wintour Costume Center galleries, the show features womenswear, accessories, and fashion illustrations dating from a 1908 Pochoir album—Les Robes de Paul Poiret racontées par Paul Iribe—to a 2009 handbag-hat by Isaac Mizrahi.
“Sandy’s incredibly generous gift strengthens our collection immeasurably through the addition of historically significant pieces of 20th-century fashion,” said Mr. Bolton. “Amassed through a deep passion for the art of fashion—as well as sheer determination—Sandy’s gift introduces rare designs into our holdings, allowing us to tell a more nuanced story of fashion history through the achievements of its most innovative designers.”
Ms. Schreier’s interest in fashion began in childhood, when she accompanied her father to work at Russeks, the Detroit branch of the New York specialty store, where she met some of the city’s most fashionable women. Seeing Ms. Schreier’s enthusiasm for dress, these women began gifting her pieces of their couture, which she preserved rather than wore.
“I always saw myself as a fashion savior,” said Ms. Schreier. “My passion for fashion as an art form drove me to search for the most innovative, creative, and breathtaking objects by well-known and lesser-known talents. I am elated that these pieces will live on as my legacy at The Met, where they can be conserved and shared with the public, designers, and scholars for eternity.”
Ms. Schreier collected iconic works by designers long recognized for their leading roles in shaping the direction of fashion, as well as innovative couturiers often underrepresented in museum collections, such Boué Soeurs, Madeleine & Madeleine, and Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix.
“Sandy showed remarkable vision in preserving modern fashion at a time when few collectors appreciated it as an art form,” commented Ms. Regan. “The exceptional objects in this gift reflect the discriminating eye and extraordinary dedication of a lifelong collector.”
Designers in the exhibition include Gilbert Adrian, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain, Ugo Correani (for Karl Lagerfeld), Gabrielle Chanel, Jean Dessès, Christian Dior, Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, Maria Monaci Gallenga, Rudi Gernreich (for Harmon Knitwear), Benjamin Green-Field (for Bes-Ben), Jacques Griffe, Maison Gripoix (for Chanel), Charles James, Stephen Jones, Patrick Kelly, Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld (for Chloé and his own label), Jeanne Lanvin, Lasdon, Jeanne Le Monnier, Lucien Lelong, Madeleine & Madeleine, Alexander McQueen, Isaac Mizrahi, Sylvie Boué de Montegut and Jeanne d’Etreillis (for Boué Soeurs), Franco Moschino, Ana de Pombo (for House of Paquin), Paul Poiret, Paul Iribe (for Poiret), Georges Lepape (for Poiret), Zandra Rhodes, Roberto Rojas, Christian Francis Roth, Yves Saint Laurent (for Dior), Elsa Schiaparelli, Stephen Sprouse, Philip Treacy, Jessie Franklin Turner, Valentina, and Madeleine Vionnet.
The exhibition is organized by Mr. Bolton, Ms. Regan, and Mellissa Huber, Assistant Curator. Shane Valentino and Nathan Crowley of LAMB Design Studio created the exhibition design along with The Met’s Design Department. All headdresses are specially created for the exhibition by Stephen Jones.
A publication by Mr. Bolton, Ms. Regan, and Ms. Huber accompanies the exhibition and includes new photography by Nicholas Alan Cope. It is published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.
A special feature on the Museum’s website, www.metmuseum.org/InPursuitofFashion, provides further information about the exhibition. Follow us on Facebook.com/metmuseum, Instagram.com/metmuseum, and Twitter.com/metmuseum to join the conversation about the exhibition. Use #InPursuitofFashion, #CostumeInstitute, and @MetCostumeInstitute on Instagram and Twitter.
About Sandy Schreier
Ms. Schreier began collecting as a child in her native Detroit, where she made hundreds of acquisitions, including one of her first major haute couture ensembles—a Madeleine & Madeleine gown from about 1923—which is on view at The Met. A frequent lender to Costume Institute and other museums’ exhibitions for many years, Ms. Schreier has one of the country’s foremost private collections of 20th-century high fashion. She regularly lectures about fashion and has written two books about Hollywood costume.
About The Met’s 150th Anniversary
In 2020, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding with a dynamic range of exhibitions, programs, and public events. Highlights of the year will include the exhibition Making The Met, 1870–2020, on view March 30–August 2; the opening of the newly renovated and reimagined galleries devoted to British decorative arts and design in March; the display of new gifts throughout the Museum; a three-day-long celebration in June; and a story-collecting initiative. More information is available at metmuseum.org/150 and in a dedicated press release.
June 26, 2020
Image: Evening Dress, Cristóbal Balenciaga (Spanish, 1895–1972) for House of Balenciaga (French, founded 1937), summer 1961; Promised gift of Sandy Schreier.
Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope