Saturday, June 27, 2009

New York, New York It's A Helluva Town!

Ahhh.......I am finally back in Toronto after a couple days in rainy New York. But in all honesty who can complain about rainy New York when there are so many amazing clothing stores and fashion related events to explore?

My fashion trek of NYC first began at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art special exhibit, The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion. After watching Coco Rocha's E! Canada special, Fashion Attacks where the Canadian model provides a behind the scenes look at New York Fashion Week, I knew that one of the first things that I saw in New York had to be The Model As Muse exhibit. Sponsored by acclaimed American fashion designer, Marc Jacobs with additional support from the notable, Conde Nast the exhibit was a sight to be seen.

Highlighting iconic models from Dorian Leigh to Daria Werbowy, the exhibit showcased the works of the models and their respective eras. As you enter the exhibit you are welcomed by a hot pink room, with a mannequin remake of the 1970 Richard Avedon photo featured on this blog, accompanied by the famous Yves Saint Laurent quote, "A good model can advance fashion by ten years". This powerful statement set the stage for the encompassing exhibit.

Despite the chronological set-up of the event, I accidently viewed it backwards after being lured by the attractive gift shop filled with The Fashion Book, Audrey Hepburn's Funny Face and the exhibition book Model as Muse: Fashioning the Ideal by Harold Koda and Kohle Yohannan. In I went to what was technically the end of the exhibit and was embraced by FW 2007-2008 Dior couture dresses draped over white mannequins that were displayed against a navy blue sparkling wall as Marilyn Manson's, Beautiful People blared in the background. Tributes to contemporary models such as, Liya Kedebe and Natalia Vodianova framed the display.

In the next room was a tribute to Giorgio di Sant'Angelo. Mannequins dressed in his brightly coloured jersey gowns hung from the ceiling. Complimenting this display was a glass mirrored box with mannequins dressed only in black and white pieces by Donna Karan, Prada and Helmut Lang. The contemporary room was followed by a tribute to the grunge/alternative era of pop culture and modelling. Nirvana's, Smells Like Teen Spirit played in the background of the room covered with graffitti walls. Outfits by Anna Sui were showcased and the whole room reminded me of being in grade 4 listening to No Doubt's, Spiderwebs. The Grunge era was all about the anti-model and this section was complete with several photos of Calvin Klein muse, Kate Moss.

Next up was Christy, Naomi and Linda.....the Supermodels. George Michael's music video for Freedom '90 played behind Gianni Versace's Andy Warhol-esque Marilyn Monroe dress. Tributes to Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford lined the display as the exhibit moved on to The Body Politic, with a tribute to Halston and Paco Robanne. Photos of a young, innocent-looking Janice Dickinson and Lauren Hutton decorated the colourful walls that transitioned into the Youthquake a.k.a. the British Invasion where Mary Quant, The Beatles and Twiggy ruled. Images of Jean Shrimpton and Veruschka accented the futurisitic, chain-mail-inspired Paco Rabanne shift dress.

Audrey Hepburn's Funny Face welcomed me into the last room of the exhibit that was dedicated to The Golden Age of Couture. A recreation of the famous Cecil Beaton photograph of models dressed in Charles James was featured in the centre of the room and was a lovely conclusion to the wonderfully curated model exhibit.

Viewing the Model As Muse exhibit was fulfilling in every way. As someone who could learn more about models I feel like I had an informative lesson in Model History 101. The array of editorial and gorgeous images left me feeling inspired and ready to strike a pose!

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