When the Met Gala makes its return We the people. Classic T-Shirt .To 5th Avenue the first Monday in May, expect a great deal of glitz and turn-of-the-century glamour. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute announced it will stage “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” as the second installment of September 2021’s Met Gala “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” But New York Times’ Chief Fashion Critic Vanessa Friedman revealed earlier this week that this year’s theme could perhaps be interchangeably referred to as “Gilded Glamour.” It seems two words have never inspired such speculation as visions of Gilded Age attire have left the internet divided between literal interpretations of the era’s patina of opulence and more historic references. The period was deemed gilded, not golden. That is, thinly veiled with lavish delusions. This American epoch (its name derived from Mark Twain’s 1873 novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today) spanned the years between the Civil War and the turn of the twentieth century. It was a period of corruption, income inequality and laissez-faire capitalism obscured by excessive materialism and ostentatious displays of vanity. Fashion, as a reflection of the self, was a seamless extension of one’s wealth.
We the people. Classic T-Shirt, hoodie, sweater, longsleeve and ladies t-shirtThough family names like Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Carnegie are most often associated with the “robber baron” monopolists of that time, women of the same lineage are significantly linked to America’s fashion history We the people. Classic T-Shirt . And their status was on full display at the Vanderbilt ball of 1883. Rumoured to have cost $250,000 USD (approximately $7 million USD today, or $8.8 million CAD), the ball welcomed New York’s glitterati by the hundreds in their finest garments, hosted by Alva Vanderbilt, granddaughter-in-law to family patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt. It held a striking resemblance to today’s Met Gala with grand surroundings, a socialite-centric crowd and costumes by coveted designers demanding attention. While Alva posed with live doves dressed as a Venetian princess, family member Alice Vanderbilt wore a golden “Electric Light” ensemble embroidered with lightning bolt and starburst motifs. Designed by the “father of haute couture,” Paris-based Charles Frederick Worth, Alice’s costume conveyed a deeper meaning. Accessorised with a battery powered torch in hand, her getup screamed wealth, privilege and status at a time when few households had access to Thomas Edison’s light bulb invention.
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