With “American Woman” the Costume Institute has, in contrast to the no frills “American High Style” exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (from whose collection this exhibition is pulled from), created another spectacle. Yet in comparison to previous years, the exhibition is less theatrical and more elegant. The topic is more manageable and easier to understand although there is not much of a didactic tone; the curators allow the beauty of the clothes to speak for themselves. The mannequins are surrounded by fabulous thematic backdrops influenced by the decade and period music is blasting on the speakers. Like in previous years, the Costume Institute is allowed to delve into the rich decorative arts collection of the Metropolitan Museum to bring these murals to life with carefully placed objects. For example, a backdrop inspired by the home of Louis Comfort Tiffany is embellished by the use of original Tiffany furnishings and lamps.
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