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The Met’s Costume Institute Extends ‘Women Dressing Women’

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ON WITH THE SHOW: By extending the Costume Institute’s run of “Women Dressing Women,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art is serving up inclusivity in a few ways.

The fall exhibition at the Upper East Side museum will be on view for an additional week through March 10. The end date is two days after International Women’s Day and the start of The Met’s celebration of Women’s History Month.

Just as the show exhibits an assortment of inclusive designs for a variety of body types, as well as for the physically challenged there is also a range of work from designers of different heritages, including Ann Lowe, and Anifa Mvuemba, among others.

The female-centric show  feature 80 pieces from the museum’s permanent collection. Along with well-entrenched names in the fashion landscape, like Claire McCardell, Miuccia Prada, Madeleine Vionnet and Vivienne Westwood, less-heralded designers like Adèle Henriette Nigrin Fortuny, Isabel Toledo, Yeohlee Teng, Iris van Herpen, and No Sesso’s Pia Davis and Autumn Randolph are highlighted. Tory Burch,  Gabriela Hearst and Comme des Garçons Rei Kawakubo are reeling in some of their devoted followers up the museum’s Fifth Avenue steps, through its main entrance and into the Costume Institute.

“Women Dressing Women” spotlights four areas — anonymity, visibility, agency and absence/omission — and how the industry has been a “powerful vehicle for women’s social, financial and creativity.” Museum patrons also learn about the identities, mentorships and other connections that tied some of these designers together. Nearly half of the 80 objects on view from 70-plus designers are being displayed for the first time.

To maximize the final stretch, museum goers have a few special programs to choose from at the Morgan Stanley-supported exhibition. On March 1, there will be the “Empowerment Through Practice in Fashion” panel discussion about accessibility, sustainability and the collective nature of design. Sinéad Burke, chief executive officer and founder of Tilting the Lens; Grace Jun, CEO and board member of Open Style Lab, and Amanda Lee, senior director of market access and sourcing for Nest, will share their insights.

Separately, families will be welcomed at a Sunday “Family Afternoon” event. “Women Dressing Women” co-curator and The Costume Institute’s associate curator Mellissa Huber will offer a behind-the-scenes look at highlights from the exhibition for visually impaired audiences through “Picture This!” on Feb. 15. Shelly Tarter, assistant collections manager, and Izabel Cockrum, a Virginia Barbato intern, will also be on hand. A “Met Expert Talk” with Huber is slated for Feb. 20. And as “Date Nights at The Met” continue, gallery chats about Lowe will be offered in gallery chats that also celebrate Black History Month.

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