Exquisite Dresses From the MET Costume Institute: Pre-1950

art art deco chanel costume institute costumes designer dresses fashion france General lanvin met metropolitan museum of art photography vintage vintage dresses

The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art houses a collection of more than 35 000 pieces, dating as far back as the 15th century to now. The Institute curates two annual exhibitions featuring traditional regional dress, designer haute couture, costumes and accessories for women, men and children. All the clothing can’t be on public display all year round for risk of damage, but you can view photographs of the entire collection on the MET’s website.

I was browsing through the archives and found some exceptional dresses that caught my attention.  The dresses below range in date from the 1910s to the 1940s. I was most struck by the intricacy of the detailing to the garments and the drape of the luxurious fabrics used by the designers. Stay tuned for part two, where I’ll be sharing some of my favourite finds from the archives of the 1950s to 1990s.

Date: 1903–4, Culture: American, Medium: silk

Date: 1908–10, Culture: probably American, Medium: linen, cotton

Designer: Madame Havet (French), Date: ca. 1922, Culture: French, Medium: silk, metal braid

Design House: Callot Soeurs (French, active 1895–1937), Date: 1920s, Culture: French

Date: 1926, Culture: French, Medium: silk

Date: 1925, Culture: French, Medium: silk

Department Store: B. Altman & Co. (American, 1865–1990), Date: early 1920s, Culture: American or European, Medium: silk

Design House: Callot Soeurs (French, active 1895–1937) Date: ca. 1925 Culture: French Medium: silk, metallic thread, glass

Design House: House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), Designer: Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (French, Saumur 1883–1971 Paris), Date: ca. 1930, Culture: French, Medium: silk

Design House: House of Lanvin (French, founded 1889), Designer: Jeanne Lanvin (French, 1867–1946), Date: 1939, Culture: French, Medium: silk, spangles

Images via www.metmuseum.org

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