Rihanna making THE entrance wearing Guo Pei at the 2015 Gala.
The First Monday in May has always held a special place on the New York social calendar but it especially holds cache for the fashion crowd. This Monday would be a continuation of the Gala that dates back to its inception in 1948 to benefit the newly founded Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. With the induction of former Vogue Editor-in-Chief Diana Vreeland in 1973 as a consultant, the Gala began to take a new shape molded through her extraordinary, vivid imagination and took advantage of her celebrity connections to create the Gala into the blockbuster event that we are intrigued by today. The Gala from its conception been a fundraiser for the Costume Institute, raising funds for the acquisition, preservation and display of historically significant fashion pieces that comes together to create a new, awe inspiring exhibition each year. It has become a pilgrimage of the fashion devoted in their black cars to pay homage to fashion history, making an entrance to be baptized in the flash of thousands of photographers who captured their poses on the red carpeted stairs will all be postponed this year due to the Covid-19 health crisis.
Andy Warhol and Diana Vreeland at the 1977 Gala.
Past year’s exhibitions have explored the work of legendary designers like Cristobal Balenciaga (The world of Balenciaga 1973), Alexander McQueen (Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty 2011) and Yves Saint Laurent (Yves Saint Laurent: 25 Years of Design 1983). Diana Vreeland stirred up a petit whirlwind of controversy when announcing the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit as he was the first designer who was given the honor of an exhibition while he was alive. The curatorial staff have also spotlighted social, cultural and historical moments interpreted through fashion and costume with exhibitions like Punk: Chaos to Couture (2013), Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design (1974) and The Eighteenth-Century Woman (1981). This year’s theme, with the opening being delayed until October 2020 at this time, is titled About Time: Fashion and Duration. The exhibition overview states “…it will explore how clothes generate temporal associations that conflate past, present, and future.” The show will highlight the durational quality of fashion by juxtaposing the past in tandem with the present. To illustrate this idea one of the “seconds” being presented will be a princess-line dress from the 1870's which will correlate to an Alexander McQueen “Bumster” skirt form his 1995 collection. The exhibit will highlight the cyclical cycle of fashion by visually comparing historical adjacent too contemporary designs to illustrate how silhouettes and concepts are revisited and reimagined.
About Time: Fashion and Duration Photo by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue Magazine
The absence of the actual event makes my fashion loving heart beat a bit melancholy. This year I will not be continuing my yearly tradition of sitting on vogue.com constantly refreshing the slideshows of red carpet arrivals, becoming excited by red carpet looks that provide a fashion fantasy reinvigorating my imagination and sending photos to friends of my favorites to discuss. As always, the show will be going on but in a digital format. Throughout the day vogue.com will be looking back on past years highlights; the ensembles imprinted on the nights history whole reminiscing on memorable moments. This will all conclude with a livestream exclusively on YouTube with Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine and designer/Dj Virgil Abloh who will join Anna Wintour for an intimate digital celebration called “A Moment with the Met”.
Cher wearing Bob Mackie at the 1974 Gala.
To lift my spirits I thought to celebrate in a special Decades way by highlighting pieces in the store that play into this year's theme of duration through time. A fashion pilgrimage in its own right since 1997, Decades has been the destination for vintage and contemporary designer pieces that co-exist allowing one to discover unique attire that holds a place in fashion history. The magic of Decades is that unlike a museum one can try on the past, make it present with your personal stylized touches and initiate a sustainable and fabulous personal archive at home. So come delve with me into a little digital pop-up exhibit courtesy of the online store.
Halston and "Baby" Jane Holzer, 1973. Ron Galella / Staley-Wise Gallery New York
Big hair, bold prints the 1980s was a fashion era known for grand excess. So it is no surprise that during this era we saw a re-emergence of the “Leg of Mutton” or “Gigot” sleeves. Originally coming into fashion in the early 19th century it returned with an opulence during the gilded Belle Époque. The Belle Époque was know for its sumptuous and glamorous attitude towards fashion, so of course the 1980s continued where the gilded age had left off. This Emanuel Ungaro dress has the designers take on the gigot sleeve along with a sweetheart neckline that is blossomed with ruffles. This décolletage mimics the reigning beauties of that time that captured illustrators imaginations for the leading fashion magazines of the time before the reign of fashion photography took over.
By the early 1990s Gianni Versace had hit full stride and was creating collections that made editors, supermodels and the public go wild for his sexy, empowering clothes. In 1994 he showed dresses that were embellished and pinned together by golden Medusa faced safety pins. This wink to the punk subculture that blew up in the late 1970s London created one of Versace’s most iconic red carpet moments, Elizabeth Hurly at the Four Weddings and a Funeral Premiere. The punk scene created their own stylistic vocabulary which included safety pins as an elemental part of the language; utilized as earrings, embellishing denim jackets or cascading down leather pants. Versace took this punk lingo and infused his dresses with a rock n roll edge in a way only he could do, he re-conceptualized the punk adornment with greek and roman mythological iconography to create something so Versace but also, so Ramones.
The 1920’s was an era of exuberance and radical ideas propelled by a youthful spirit where jazz, art deco and the Flapper reigned supreme! Designer Todd Oldham in the 1990s brought that joie de vivre to the world through the runway shows he put on and the clothes he produced. From his 1996 collection this velvet dress with vibrant orange beads creates an art deco zig zag pattern giving this gown a flirty nod and bob to the era of Gatsby. Bringing to the imagination this dress attiring Josephine Baker as she is running out of a busted speakeasy and off to find another joint to dance the night away in.
Tom Ford, the auteur of sexy minimalism at Gucci throughout the 1990s. He created attire that moved with the body and highlighted one’s personal assets through clean and classic lines, much like Halston in the 1970s. Halston ruled the 1970s with clothes that needed nothing more than genius construction and classic codes that spoke to women in a language that evoked natural, modern elegance. This Gucci dress from 2000 has a refined simplicity that is the calling card of Halston’s design aesthetic, while the deep back’s sexy plunge is all Tom Ford. This dress could be walking a red carpet at an early 2000s rom com premiere or spinning on the floor of Studio 54 with Liza, your imagination can choose.
The pencil skirt is most famously attributed to Christian Dior’s 1954 “H Line” Collection, while his contemporary Cristobal Balenciaga also has been attributed to cutting the modern day pencil skirt. Actresses like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly wore variations throughout their films in 1950s and 1960s. The pencil skirt reached a level of cultural fame when coupled with Marilyn Monroe who enchanted audiences in films like Some Like It Hot as she wiggled across the silver screen in her now signature skirts. This Dolce & Gabbana version has the classic leg elongating length, a high waist to give a sense of curve to ones figure and conceived in leather it gives this time-honored wardrobe staple a modern kick.
All pieces are available online at www.decadesinc.com. For any inquires please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.