Fashion Returns to the Museum

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I also don’t think that the words Bolton has attached to each look — the “lexicon” part: “freedom,” “fluency,” “coziness,” “calm” — will make any real impression on visitors. But I bet what people will remember is how coherent certain overarching themes are: the elegant black dress, draped just so on the body from Charles James through Isabel Toledo and Rick Owens; the structured skirt suit; the camel cashmere; plush homemade knit; denim (of course!); and the really terrific opening room featuring a bouquet of patchwork clothes by everyone from Ralph Lauren to SC103 and Puppets and Puppets. And the whole thing may make visitors think twice about American fashion, which was the goal.

That said, I also bet people will be drawn to the Dior show, which demands less of the viewer. It’s like a Marvel movie to the Met’s Wes Anderson. What do you think?

WOOLFE There’s something of a reversal of roles here: The scrappy Brooklyn Museum hosting the glam behemoth, while the mighty Met strikes a sweeter, more modest and (dare I say) underground pose. (That extends to the apt soundtrack: the genially twinkling “Femenine,” a recently rediscovered work from the 1970s by the Black, gay Post-Minimalist composer Julius Eastman.)

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It says something — everything? — about New York and how it’s changed that Dior has taken up residence in Prospect Heights, rather than on Fifth Avenue.


In America: A Lexicon of Fashion

Part 1 of the Costume Institute’s exhibition, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” Sept. 18 through Sept. 5, 2022, at the Anna Wintour Costume Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., 212-535-7710; metmuseum.org. (Part 2, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” opens May 5, 2022.) Timed tickets required for admission to Museum; visitors age 12 and older must show proof of vaccination against Covid-19.

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Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

Through Feb. 20, 2022, Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, N.Y., 718-638-5000; brooklynmuseum.org. Timed tickets; visitors 12 and older must show proof of vaccination and a valid I.D.

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