Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity at the Met

La Mode(ernite) ..

“The latest fashion is absolutely necessary for a painting. It’s what matters the most.” – Monet.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Over and over again an inspiration to many artists and designers. Currently there is an exhibit on display that focuses on the fashion called Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity. It’s a wonderful exhibition and if you have the chance you should make it there. So let’s take a closer look – Monet said fashion is not only part of the fine arts, but actually necessary for it. Obviously, during the impressionist era Paris was the capitol of fashion, and women’s wear was much more elaborate than menswear, but there were a few references to menswear (and we even got a whole room to ourselves – who would’ve thought?!).

Dresscode: Black and white and formal. Men were always dressed in suits, wearing top hats and carrying a cane. We’ve lost the cane, we’ve varied the hats (See post on “Shades and Lids”), and we’ve added variety to suits, like color, patterns and fit. But other than that formal wear hasn’t really changed. We could mention that we now don’t bow our ties as frequently anymore, and have a more elaborate choice of accessorizing the neck. A few of my favorite paintings in the exhibition I included above as I’m sure you have already seen. As we see in Monet’s work, as well as Caillebotte (Pictures 1,4&5) men’s way to dress wasn’t varying to a great extent and pretty much follow the scheme I just described. In Picture 6 by Beraud, we have a black tie event and may notice the white gloves, which was a reserved to very classy evening events. But my absolute favorite artist of the exhibit was Tissot. (Picture 2) His artwork is inspiring, just judging by the detail he puts into every single one of his paintings. His characters have such elaborate facial distinctions, they almost seam real. His one enormous painting of “The Circle of the Rue Royale” depicting menswear is amazing to me. Underneath I have posted the advertisement from D&G this painting reminded me of when I first laid my eyes upon it. (Picture 3) Classy men, dapperly dressed in an obviously rich environment. I love the fashion in the painting, as well as – once again – the facial characteristics. It could easily pass as an advertisement for a dapper menswear label with a few slight adjustments to the fashion.

Once again, we see a great connection between fine arts and fashion, and we got a little glimpse into the history of menswear – now go and check it out!!

Share Your Passion – Marcel

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