An Art Historian’s Guide to Haute Couture

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Earlier this summer, San Franciscans traded in their usual boho chic to revel in some vintage haute couture at the Legion of Honor, courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.  Unfortunately, the collection has gone packing back to Brooklyn.  Lucky for us, great fashion never goes out of style, and season 14 of Project Runway premieres this week to prove it.  How many times can you watch a design student whip up a wedding gown out of used q-tips?…apparently 14.  

Just to prove that sensational fashion never gets old, check out our highlights from the Brooklyn Museum Collection paired with our favorite fashion statements from classic and modern art.

Mrs. Charles E. Inches by John Singer Sargent, at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Madame X by John Singer Sargent, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Rose and Silver: The Princess from the Land of Porcelain, by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, at the Freer and Sackler Galleries.

Portrait of Fritza Riedler by Gustav Klimt, at the Austrian Gallery at Belvedere.

The Honourable Mrs. Graham by Thomas Gainsborough, at the Scottish National Gallery.

Madame de Maison-Rouge as Diana by Jean-Marc Nattier, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Inés de Zúñiga, Countess of Monterrey by Juan Carreño de Miranda, at the Museum of Lazaro Galdiano.

Portrait of Eleonora da Toledo by Alessandro Allori, at The State Hermitage Museum.

Rose Breathing by Andrea Ackerman, at the San Jose Museum of Art.

The Parakeet and the Mermaid by Henri Matisse, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The Sheaf by Henri Matisse, at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Composition C (No. III) with Red, Yellow and Blue by Piet Mondrian, at the Tate Britain.

By: Griff Stecyk

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Griff Stecyk


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