Here at Glam Damn It, we're always caught up on the latest trends. However, did you ever wonder when and where this global interest in high fashion, our monthly subscriptions to Vogue and Cosmo, and frivolous shopping sprees at Bloomingdale's and Bergdorf Goodman, among many other luxurious pleasures, all began? Over the years, fashion has become so accessible, and rarely do we stop and think about its progression. Of course, we like to think that New York City is the fashion capital of the world (don't worry, it is...now), but fashion as we know it started in the mid-1860s in a beautiful city called Paris. Ever heard of it?
If you haven't already visited, you're in for an eyegasm at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity exhibition, going on now until May 27th. With close to 80 paintings, 14 dresses, and a myriad of accessories, photographs, and inspiring quotes painted on the walls, you'll be visually stimulated by this marriage of fashion and art throughout your visit. You can expect the usual crowd—ye olde Upper East Siders and tourists, but this exhibition has definitely attracted a broader audience; fashionistas, hipsters, and art students on a scavenger hunt included, among many other visitors.
With the growth of department stores, the ubiquitous presence and influence of fashion magazines, and increased production of ready-made wear (aka off-the-rack) artists like Manet, Monet, Bartholome, Degas, and Renoir took the opportunity to embrace and illustrate the ever-changing modern life and style of the Parisian upper middle-class. These Impressionists sought to capture the beauty, elegance, and reality of their culture.
Just to give you an idea of the influence of this time—you know that sexy little black dress you have in your closet for any and every occasion? Well, you can thank late 19th Century Paris for making black ensembles synonymous with urban sophistication, previously a sign of a lonely widow (fast-forward to 2013's crazy cat lady). Though it is no longer a la mode to carry an intricately detailed hand-held fan, and walking around with a parasol in beautiful weather is kind of weird (which you'll see many women doing), the influence of this period is undeniable and this exhibition is definitely worth a visit. So while you're looking at the plethora of paintings of beautiful Parisian women who have been squeezed in to 16 inch corsets, while supporting cumbersome bustles, remember to be grateful that fashion has come such a long way since the late-19th Century, and is open to much more comfort and experimentation!
Don't forget—much like the latest trends, this exhibition is fleeting, so be sure to visit The Met before it's over!
For The Met's hours and more about the exhibit, please visit their website.