Monday, August 3, 2009

model as muse

i probably was one of the last highly interested but late attending visitors of "model as muse" exhibition in metropolitan. it has been up for several months by now, and it will be over next sunday, august 9th, so if you are like me postponing it to the last minute - last minute it is!
it's definitely worth going through skillfully and thoughtfully organized labyrinth lit by softboxes hanging downside from the ceiling and seeing the history of fashion in making: from early b&w pictures of avedon and ritz to recent campaigns by klein and meisel. but this time the focus is shifted - you look at the famous image of sunny harnett leaning gracefully over a casino table, and you are so absorbed by the image itself, the beautiful lighting, its depth of field, sunny's mysterious smile, and the beautiful dress she's wearing almost goes unnoticed since we are taking every element of the image for granted. then next to this 8 by 10 image in a black wooden frame you see a live-size installation - a mannequin leaning over a casino table, and lamp next to it, and the dress, exactly the same like sunny is wearing on that picture.. but something is different. the magic is gone. because the magic is in the art of a photographer to make a timeless image out of a standard fashion picture - and of a model to breathe life into the latter.

so as we go from room to room, from one fashion era to another, we are shifting the focus and seeing how models changed the way we see fashion. it's almost like a story of womens emancipation - from nameless "mannequins cabinet" to strong personalities and world-known faces of linda evangelista, naomi campbell, claudia shiffer, kristy terlington..

and of course there are dresses. giorgio armani, balenciaga, pierre cardin, chanel, louis vuitton, donna karan, calvin klein, ralph lauren, prada, paco rabanne, YSL, versace... i was astounded to see in real extravagant metallic constructions from "qui etes-vous, polly magoo?" and masterpieces of john galliano's haute couture. all these spiced up with music (wide stylist range - from french "chansons" to "beautiful people" by marylin manson) makes the experience unique and very inspiring.

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