Superheroes Invade Met's Costume Institute
Do visitors get to come wearing their favourite superhero outfit?
The symbolic and metaphorical associations between fashion and thesuperhero are explored in this compelling exhibition. Featuring moviecostumes, avant-garde haute couture, and high-performance sportswear,it reveals how the superhero serves as the ultimate metaphor forfashion and its ability to empower and transform the human body.Objects are organized thematically around particular superheroes, whosemovie costumes and superpowers are catalysts for the discussion of keyconcepts of superheroism and their expression in fashion.
The exhibition and its accompanying book are made possible by Giorgio Armani.
"Superheroes are about issues of the body, identity and transformation, about acting your fantasies and transforming yourself into anyone or anything you want to be," said Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton. "Those are all the things at the heart of fashion."
"Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy" begins with an examination of Superman, the first modern superhero when he appeared on the page in 1938. He stood for all things good and patriotic during a time when the American public was trying to shake off the Depression while also watching what was happening in Europe in the days leading up to World War II.
One of the most stunning couture pieces in the exhibit belongs with mutant creatures such as the X-Men: A rainbow-colored Mugler gown that morphs from a birdlike top to an amphibian's corset and then mermaid hem.
But Superman and Spider-Man have had the strongest influence on mainstream style. In the vignettes dedicated to each, there are not only the costumes that made these characters famous in film, there are clothes that mimic their spirit. For Superman, there is Moschino's M-logo gown with complementary red cape, while there are several spider-web dress silhouettes by Mugler, Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Julien Macdonald and Giorgio Armani.
Armani is the sponsor and honorary chair of the exhibit and of the accompanying fundraising gala. He acknowledged through an interpreter at a preview Monday that he was surprised to be involved in an exhibit that veered so far from the wearable fashion he is known for.
It's also a departure for the Costume Institute, which in recent years has highlighted the works of designers Coco Chanel and Paul Poiret, and examined the historical use of animal prints and goddess gowns.
The Met exhibit runs from May 7th to September 1st.