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February 25, 2019

Walking the red carpet through history: fashion in Artstor

A dress made of beads is displayed on a mannequin.
Beadnet dress. Egyptian. c 2551-2528 BC. Image © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
A painted wooden figure of a woman.
Estate Figure. Egyptian. c. 1981-1975 BC. Image and data courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A peach colored evening dress decorated with rhinestones and a black waist tie.
Norman Norell. Evening dress. c. 1963. Image and original data from the Brooklyn Museum. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A Roman caryatid.
Caryatid of the Canopus. Roman. c. 420 - 413 BCE. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.
A white gathered evening dress displayed on a mannequin.
Madame Alix Grès. Evening dress. 1937. Image and original data from the Brooklyn Museum. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It may come as a surprise that the Artstor Digital Library is flush with fashion. For a dose of glamour, how about a stroll down the red carpet, exploring designs through the ages?

Let’s begin with the ancients: In early dynastic Egypt, the beadnet sheath dress is often depicted in paintings and statuary. A faience (sintered-quartz ceramic) dress from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, reconstructed from thousands of beads found in a burial site, is our oldest surviving example from approximately 2551–2528 BC (this particular garment was used to dress a mummy). In life, these decorative nets were probably worn over plain linen sheaths, giving an effect that approximates the elegant lines of a deftly carved offering figure from the tomb of Meketre (c. 1981-1975 BCE). A similar silhouette is achieved five millenia later in an evening gown by the pioneering American designer Norman Norell through the layering of a peach satin under slip and black rhinestone beaded netting (c. 1963).

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April 14, 2014

Gaultier in Artstor – not just for fashionistas

Exhibition: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk | Exhibition on view: November 13, 2011-February 12, 2012 | Exhibition Location: Dallas Museum of Art; dma.org

Exhibition: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk | Exhibition on view: November 13, 2011-February 12, 2012 | Exhibition Location: Dallas Museum of Art; dma.org

Since its opening in 2011 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the haute couture and prêt-à-porter designs in “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” have been electrifying audiences in Montreal, Stockholm, Brooklyn, and Dallas—and now, London.

Designer: Jean Paul Gaultier | Two Ensembles; Group | Fall/Winter 1994-1995 | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art; metmuseum.org

Designer: Jean Paul Gaultier | Two Ensembles; Group | Fall/Winter 1994-1995 | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art; metmuseum.org

I had the opportunity to see the exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum this past March. I’m no fashionista, but I could certainly appreciate the craftsmanship and creativity of an absurdly talented artist. Credit is also due to the curator, Thierry-Maxime Loriot. I admittedly rarely read museum labels, but I was so impressed and eager to learn more that I read all of the wall text. All of it.

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January 2, 2014

Add color to your winter with the Brooklyn Museum Costumes collection

Unknown, British | Gloves (Gauntlet Gloves) | 1690-1710 | Image and original data from the Brooklyn Museum | Image ©The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Unknown, British | Gloves (Gauntlet Gloves) | 1690-1710 | Image and original data from the Brooklyn Museum | Image ©The Metropolitan Museum of Art

By Ayesha Akhtar, User Services Assistant

What winter in the Northeast means for most is being able to get away with wearing black and gray, staying home in lieu of going out for fear of catching a cold, and wearing a troublesome amount of layers. But for me, grey winter skies provide the perfect backdrop for vibrant colors, I indulge in winter walks on snowy evenings, and layers mean ample opportunity to show off my keen fashion sense. After all, more clothes equal more fun. However, after festivities end the trend is a downward slope into a lackluster bowl of winter blues— and this decline of spirit reflects itself in one’s wardrobe.

This winter, with inspiration from the plethora of fashion images in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Brooklyn Museum Costumes collection in the Artstor Digital Library, it’s easier to fight the urge to blend in with the seasonal black and gray.

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October 8, 2013

5,000 images from Condé Nast now available in the Artstor Digital Library

Rick Owens Fall 2013 Ready to Wear | Photographer: Dominique Maitre | Condé Nast; condenaststore.com | Fairchild Photo Service; Contact information: Jessica McKinney, Content Licensing, 4 Times Square, NY, NY 10036; Tel No: 212-286-7147; jessica_mckinney@condenast.com

Rick Owens Fall 2013 Ready to Wear | Photographer: Dominique Maitre | Condé Nast; condenaststore.com | Fairchild Photo Service; Contact information: Jessica McKinney, Content Licensing, 4 Times Square, NY, NY 10036; Tel No: 212-286-7147; jessica_mckinney@condenast.com

Artstor has made available 5,000 images from Condé Nast in the Digital Library, including 2,000 cartoons from The New Yorker and nearly 3,000 fashion photographs from the Fairchild Photo Service.

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June 17, 2013

Travel Awards 2013: Wrapped Up in Lace: Chantilly

Unknown (French) |Collar (Cape Collar) ; ca. 1835 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Unknown (French) |Collar (Cape Collar) ; ca. 1835 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Lisa Hartley, Columbus College of Art Design

The small town of Chantilly, France, is home to Chantilly Castle, an architectural wonder of sandstone, antiquated fountains, and enchanting gardens. Here is where lace, my research niche and mild obsession, takes center stage. The traditions and skills used in lacemaking date back to early as the 16th century Europe where the nobility commissioned workers to create dresses, parasols, shawls and gloves in beautiful openwork fabric. Coco Chanel once said, “Lace is one of the prettiest imitations ever made of the fantasy of nature,” and we have Chantilly to applaud for its origins.

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May 13, 2013

Fashion from the Great Gatsby’s roaring twenties

Left: Jeanne Lanvin | Ensemble, Evening; Summer 1923. Right: Jeanne Lanvin | Suit, Evening (Tuxedo); 1927. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Left: Jeanne Lanvin | Ensemble, Evening; Summer 1923. Right: Jeanne Lanvin | Suit, Evening (Tuxedo); 1927. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“I noticed that she wore her evening dress, all her dresses, like sports clothes—there was a jauntiness about her movements as if she had first learned to walk upon a golf course on clean, crisp, mornings.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

The recent movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby has turned the spotlight on the fashion and styles of the Roaring Twenties. So what made the twenties roar?

The economic boom was decisive. Soldiers came home from World War I to jobs in manufacturing plants ready to turn from war production to consumer goods; with the flourishing economy, many commodities became affordable for the first time. Another key engine for progress was the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. It was signed into law in 1920, heralding unprecedented liberation. The twenties were also a pivotal time for mass communication: radio, cinema, and the automobile sped up the distribution of information—and trends.

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November 20, 2012

Teaching with Artstor: A history of hat-making

French | Hat (Top); ca. 1820 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

By Rachel Pollock, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Artstor helps me surmount a primary difficulty in teaching historical hat-making to my graduate students in theatrical costume production: diverse visual examples of our topics.

In millinery class, we consider not only styles and materials from which hats are made, but also their history—the provenance and significance of a given style, and depictions of it in art and advertising of the period. We analyze its cultural place of origin, and discuss ways in which its meaning might be explored or subverted in the context of stage performance and costume. I am fortunate to have access to theatrical costume storage and my university’s modest archive of antique clothing artifacts for practical tangible examples, but the bounds of those collections are finite.

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