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A photo of the entrance to an exhibit at the Met
Original photo by Elysia Rudman

In America: A Lexicon of Fashion Exhibit Review

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Year after year, I look forward to the Met Gala and how celebrities and designers interpret each theme. What I look forward to most is heading to New York to see the exhibit in person after the Gala is over. As an American history and fashion lover, I was ecstatic to see the pieces that were chosen for “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” After seeing the Camp exhibit 2 years ago, my expectations were high as it was the most fun I ever had at a museum.

Once I walked into the entrance, there was a mid-sized room filled with mannequins in glass cases layered on top of each other. After walking through this room there was a striking scene of a mannequin reaching towards the sky, with the title of the exhibit behind it. The mannequin was wearing a blue star-spangled top with a long striped skirt. For footwear, the mannequin wore low top Nike sneakers, which is a true American staple. After walking down the pristine white stairs, I entered a labyrinth of American fashion.

American flag sweater at the Met
Original photo by Elysia Rudman

Down the first flight of stairs displayed in a frame was the classic Ralph Lauren American flag sweater. Across from it was a modern interpretation. The interpretation was called “Falling Stars” by Mexican American designer Willy Chavaria as a part of his spring/summer 2019 collection. His design includes the American flag flipped upside down with stars falling off the flag. The falling stars are meant to represent the feeling of otherness felt by many immigrants. I loved the twist on an American classic. Even those not very interested in fashion have seen or can recognize the American Flag Ralph Lauren sweater. Many historically significant American fashion designers are white, so it was refreshing to see a perspective of the American flag and patriotism from a designer that is a person of color.

Blue dress at the met
Original photo by Elysia Rudman

Although overall I loved the clothing and outfits picked by the curators, a few stuck out to me. One of my favorites was the center of the exhibit, an elegant blue Rodarte dress. This dress reminded me of old Hollywood and I loved the shade of blue. The word chosen to be put above this outfit was ebullience. Another favorite was a pink Isaac Mizrahi dress with the word sweetness. I loved the babydoll style dress even more with the addition of waffled and fuzzy textures. Another dress that caught my eye was a Crayola multicolor dress from Christian Francis Roth’s 1990-1991 autumn/winter collection. I loved the color blocking, and both this dress and Iaasac Mizrahi looked similar to trends I had seen this year. Throughout the past year, babydolls, corsets, and other lingerie have become a staple for many, especially when going out. The Crayola dress reminded me of the tons of colorful knit dresses that were popular this summer, especially those from House of Sunny. I really enjoyed seeing the fashion cycle in action as specific trends from the 90s and 2000s are coming back.

Pink dress at the Met
Original photo by Elysia Rudman
Multicolor dress at the Met
Original photo by Elysia Rudman

Overall, the “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” exhibit lived up to the standard set by my past visits. It was not as bright or “out there” as camp, but it felt more relevant to the average person. Although most of the pieces were high-end designer, it was clear to see how the designs influenced what was and is worn, not only by those in high fashion. I also loved seeing the connection to historical periods, such as Diane Von Furstenberg’s original wrap dress or dress suits worn by women during World War II in America. I left the Met with my expectations exceeded and would recommend this exhibit to anyone interested in fashion!

Elysia is a Freshman at the University of Connecticut who is studying marketing. Her passions are fashion history, travel, and dogs. In her spare time she loves to thrift, go to museums and work at a doggy daycare.
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