It seems like just yesterday that fashion’s finest took to the Met steps in their best punk impressions. But the Costume Institute isn’t wasting any time. It’s already at work on next year’s exhibit–and this one should be much easier for the A-list to dress for.
According to WWD, the Costume Institute’s next show will be titled Charles James: Beyond Fashion, and will explore the life and work of America’s best-known couturier.
“He really is a one-of-a-kind designer,” explained Costume Institute curator Harold Koda. “Even if you look through the history of French haute couture and all the English couture designers, James stands out as a very idiosyncratic personality and artist and one of the few designers who, in his own lifetime, felt that his work transcended the medium.”
Besides the new theme, this year’s exhibit will also unveil the Costume Institute’s newly renovated show spaces–particularly the new Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery–which sounds like it’ll make make visiting the space a whole lot more enjoyable.
“Since the early 1990s, it’s the first time we will be able to have an open space that is also wired for the latest technology,” Koda explained. “People were always somewhat hesitant about coming down the stairs and seeing our galleries because they can get so congested with two cul-de-sacs. Now we will be able to direct the circulation in a way that underscores the narrative structure of the exhibitions.” Does this mean no more hour-long lines and craning our necks to get a glimpse of the exhibit? Amen!
The show, which will run from May 8 to August 10, will make good use of the new spaces.
“There will be the new gallery space, which will focus on describing James’s professional and personal biography, a timeline of his career, and how he developed as an artist through to the final years at the Chelsea Hotel, where he had these remarkable collaborations with others and really was serving as a mentor to people,” Koda said. “Upstairs, in the temporary gallery spaces, we are going to have a presentation of what is probably more familiar to people–knock-your-socks-off, glamorous clothes, but presented in a way that makes you understand what separated him from other designers.”
In total, there’ll be 100 pieces by James on display at the exhibit, including “iconic ball gowns from the late Forties and early Fifties such as the Four Leaf Clover, the Butterfly, Tree, Swan and Diamond designs,” as well as something he dubbed the Taxi dress.
“He had this funny idea that a woman who wanted to dress and undress in a taxi could spiral out of this dress, and put on another dress,” Koda said. [Ed note: That would actually really come in handy during NYFW.]
The exhibit is being underwritten by Aerin, the brand by Aerin Lauder, with additional support from Condé Nast, and co-chaired by Oscar de la Renta, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, Anna Wintour… and Bradley Cooper. Go figure.