As superheroes enjoy a surge in mass popularity, The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art explores the symbolic and metaphorical associations between these fictional characters and fashion in Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, an exhibition at the Museum from May 7 through September 1, 2008. The exhibition features approximately 60 ensembles including movie costumes, avant-garde haute couture, and high-performance sportswear to reveal how the superhero serves as the ultimate metaphor for fashion and its ability to empower and transform the human body.
The exhibition, in the Museum's first-floor special exhibition galleries, includes movie costumes as well as radical fashions that literally and figuratively reference superhero iconography, including Bernhard Willhelm's 2006 royal blue dress emblazoned with Superman's red-and-yellow "S-shield," a 1996 Walter van Beirendonck pink vinyl inflatable jacket, and a Thierry Mugler motorcycle bustier with polychrome handlebars and side-view mirrors.
Designers in the exhibition include Atair, Giorgio Armani, Balenciaga, Pierre Cardin, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Eiko Ishioka, Alexander McQueen, Julien Macdonald, Moschino, Thierry Mugler, Nike, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Speedo, Spyder, As Four, Walter van Beirendonck, Versace, and Bernhard Willhelm.
To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, the Museum's Costume Institute Gala Benefit tok place on Monday, May 5, 2008. Giorgio Armani serves as Honorary Chair of the Gala. Co-Chairs are actor George Clooney; actress Julia Roberts; and Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue. We have photos...
A book, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press ($50 hardcover and $30 paperback), accompanies the exhibition, and features an introduction by Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the 2000 novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.
The Museum's website's (www.metmuseum.org) Special Exhibitions Page on Superheroes features an interactive flipbook of images from comic books, movies, and fashion shows, as well as design statements from movie costume designers, and excerpts from the catalogue.