Women Dressing Women: A Lineage of Female Fashion (The Met)
Mellissa Huber, Karen van Godtsenhoven, Andrew Bolton, Amanda Garfinkel, Jessica Regan, Elizabeth Shaeffer, Elizabeth Way
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2023
This survey of women-led fashion design centered around the twentieth and twenty-first centuries emphasizes the creative agency and artistic legacy of female creators.
Exploring the enduring impact of fashions created by and for women, this book traces a historical and conceptual lineage across more than 70 female designers— from unidentified dressmakers in eighteenth-century France, to contemporary makers who are leading the direction of fashion today—all culled from the incredible permanent collection of The Costume Institute. Insightful essays that consider notions of anonymity, visibility, agency, and absence/omission reveal women’s impact within the field of fashion, highlighting celebrated designers and forgotten histories alike. The publication includes fashion houses such as Mad Carpentier, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Madeleine Vionnet, American makers like Ann Lowe, Claire McCardell, and Isabel Toledo, along with contemporary designers such as Rei Kawakubo, Anifa Mvuemba, Simone Rocha, and Iris van Herpen. New photography, created especially for this volume, uses light, shadow, and reflection to connect the garments to the four themes of the essays, which situate the works within a larger social context, and a fold-out genealogical chart traces connections between the makers featured. This overdue look at women-led design will be essential reading for anyone interested in the history of fashion.