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"I'm Drunk When it Comes to Clothes." And Thank God. Looks from Nan Kempner's Fab - & Extensive! - Wardrobe Goes On Display at the Met's Costume Institute in NYC. FASHIONTRIBES FASHION BLOG & VIDEOBLOG
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO WE SHOT OF THE EXHIBIT:
An acquisitive fashionista with a great eye & the means to do something about it, the late socialite Nan Kempner loooooved clothes. For more than five decades, she collected & squirreled away thousands of articles of pret-a-porter and couture from the pre-eminent designers of the late twentieth century: suits, gowns, shoes, hats, resortwear, and all manner of fab accessories. Fave Kempner designers included Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, and Oscar de la Renta, and around 75 of her ensembles - including John Galliano for Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld for Fendi, Lanvin, Emanuel Ungaro, jewelry by JAR, Verdura & Kenneth Jay Lane - are on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in five separate vitrines: resort, tailoring, evening, accessories, and her wardrobe archive.
Part of the reason this world-class clotheshorse had enough threads to keep a chichi boutique well stocked for years was that she never threw anything away. "I hate to give [clothes] because I know it is just what I'll want to be wearing next," she once noted. "I love all my clothes. In fact, there's not a thing of Yves' that I've bought and couldn't still wear. Nothing goes out of of style, which is why I find the couture a very good investment. You can recycle, bring out things many years later and they look brand new."
Organized by Harold Koda, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institue, this survey of Kempner's love of the sartorial shows how the socialite - rumored to be inspiration for the term "social X-ray" in Tom Wolfe's novel Bonfire of the Vanities - would creatively combine various designers in the same outfit, without regard to designer provenance. Small wonder Diana Vreeland was said to have remarked, "There is no such thing as a chic American Woman...the one exception is Nan Kempner."
The exhibit is up through March 4, 2007. For more info on The Custume Institute, visit MetMuseum.org.
- Lesley Scott
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