High Style: Twentieth-Century Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection is the latest case in point. As the curators point out, there are a number of similarities between the Brooklyn Museum’s approach to clothing and that of the CAM. Where CAM has it over other museums (and I am thinking of Indianapolis) is in the physical staging—sets, props, and lighting—of a special exhibit. Each exhibit is a unique production and they’re invariably gorgeous, witty, and become artworks in themselves. They’re on a par with the Metropolitan Museum of Art so this makes complete sense for this to be here because Brooklyn’s clothing collection is now housed at the Met.
|Schiaparelli's Day Dress|
|Arpad's Shoe Design|
|Sally Victor's Millinery Works|
Though historically the focus has been on Europe, Americans created their own spotlight in the 1940s and 1950s with the emergence of sportswear. It was mainly female designers such as Vera Maxwell, Carolyn Schnurer, and Claire McCardell who did this while working in a patriarchal industry more interested in commercial product than artistic vision. Then everything stops in its track and an overlooked legend comes to life.
|Charles James' Clover Leaf Ball Gown|
|Cecil Beaton's Vogue Photograph in James' Gowns|
|Halston and Scaasi|
|Adrian's "The Tigress"|
Where the CAM really takes off and where Cincinnatians and Northern Kentuckians need to travel to Eden Park is that except for a $4 parking charge, admission is FREE.
High Style runs through January 24, 2016.