Texts and images from the collections of the Costume Institute and the Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Please note that access to some material in this collection is restricted to computers within The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Click here to browse all items in the Costume Institute collection.
The Bergdorf Goodman sketches sub-collection contains original fashion sketches donated to the Costume Institute Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1966. These sketches depict day and evening dresses, coats, suits, millinery and lingerie available in Bergdorf's custom salon during the years 1929-1952. Designers represented in this collection include Chanel, Dior and Schiaparelli, among many others.
The Dandyism sub-collection is a set of eighteenth century European pamphlets on dandyism, fashion and textiles--a selection of material relating to the study of the dandy, who is defined as a man who places excessive importance on his clothing and personal appearance. The group consists mainly of Portuguese morality poems and plays, reports, and sumptuary laws warning about the perils of fashion fads. The collection also includes exhibition catalogs noting the dandyism of such renowned nineteenth century artists as Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Read more about the Dandyism sub-collection in this Highlights post.
Two centuries of French fashion is a collection of thirty-one photographic prints depicting "a collection of mannequin dolls, created by the Syndicat de la Couture de Paris, which were part of the Gratitude Train exhibit sent in 1949 to the people of the United States by the people of France as a token of their appreciation of American assistance. The dolls are fashioned of wire, stand two and one-half feet tall, and are costumed to interpret the spirit of the periods selected by each designer. They portray the character and stylistic changes in French fashions from 1715 to 1906." The photographs were a gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute from the Museum of the City of New York in October, 2011.
See also the Costume Institute Fashion Plates collection on this page.