Met Gala 2022: The dress code is Gilded Age

At the bottom of the invitations to the Met Gala, which are sent out each spring, is an inscription that, while small, has great importance: the dress code. In 2020, it was a rehearsed banality for Camp: Notes on Fashion. In 2021, for In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, it was American independence. And on May 2, 2022, there will be golden glam for “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.”

From 2022 to the 19th century

dust it off time of innocence and Among the happy people of the world fromEdith Wharton. The 2022 Met Gala will challenge its attendees to embody the greatness (and perhaps dichotomy) of New York’s Golden Age. This period, which stretched from 1870 to 1890 (it is attributed Mark Twain the coinage of this term in 1873), was marked by unprecedented prosperity, cultural development and industrialization, in the course of which skyscrapers and fortunes arose overnight. woman Astor and its 400 members ruled the high society up to Vanderbilt, new empires, are imposing themselves. The lightbulb of Thomas Edisonpatented in 1882, first illuminates the building of the New York Times, then the whole city. In 1876 the telephone wasAlexander Graham Bell makes communication instantaneous and creates a demand for switchboard operators, resulting in one of the first massive waves of women entering the labor market. Wages rose and exceeded those in Europe (although, as shown Jacob Ries in How the other half lives, not all have made use of it). The Architects McKim, mead and White built Beaux-Arts style buildings along 5th Avenue and beautified the city. And in 1893, Vogue was founded with a mission to publish “the perspective of the cultured citizen of the world.” Among the first shareholders were Cornelius Vanderbilt, Peter Cooper Hewitt and John E ParsonsNames that live on in New York to this day.

The fashion of the time was too excessive for the upper class. Recent innovations in electric and steam looms have made fabric production faster and cheaper. As a result, women’s dresses often featured a combination of multiple textiles such as satin, silk, velvet, and fringes, all embellished with exaggerated textures such as lace, bows, ruffles…(more the merrier).

September 1895 issue of Fashionshows a couple dressed for a formal evening.

Courtesy of the Conde Nast Archives.

Corset, feathers and flared skirts

The colors were rich and deep, the tones of precious jewels, of jewels, were in order. Lighter colors were worn only at home, as they were impractical for a stroll down the streets of New York. Hats were essential for going out and were often decorated with feathers. (Actually the company Audubon was founded in 1895 in response to the protection of birds from the millinery trade). Corsets were commonplace and between the 1870s and the late 1880s women assumed busts to elongate their backs, a popular belief that a bust was large enough to hold an entire tea service. By the 1890s, however, the twist fell out of fashion, being replaced by sheepskin sleeves, bell-shaped skirts, and pompadour hairstyles. This aesthetic was only popularized by the illustrator Charles Dana Gibsonwhose pen and ink illustrations of the hourglass-shaped Gibson Girl were extremely popular in publications and advertisements of the time.

This is not to say that all Golden Age fashion was formal. With the popularity of hobbies like cycling and tennis among wealthy people, sportswear became a wardrobe staple for the first time. Many women wore a shirt-waist ensemble or long skirt paired with a feminine blouse, which allowed them to move more easily, as perhaps the portrait of showsEdith MinturnCelebrities of the Golden Age, directed by John Singer Sargent 1897.

However, parties, balls and parties brought forth the most extravagant style this country had ever seen. Often frequented by the wealthy, the opera house had a strict dress code: women wore tulle dresses that revealed their cleavage, opulent fur-lined capes and elbow-length gloves, while men wore top hats. The 1880s also saw the arrival of the tuxedo in America. (Urban legend has it that a man named James Potter wore the English-born model to a country club prom at Tuxedo Park, hence the name of the costume style).

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