Book Review: Vogue and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute: Parties Exhibitions People, by Hamish Bowles • Glam Adelaide

Book Review: Vogue and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute: Parties Exhibitions People, by Hamish Bowles

FASHION: An updated and expanded edition, covering the past five years of the Met Costume Institute’s exhibitions and galas through the lens of Vogue.

A glorious confection of fashion, art, society and people.

In the fashion and high-society calendar, the first Monday in May is sacred space.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit, or Met Gala as it’s popularly known, began in 1948 as a midnight supper party. It is now, and has been for many years, one of the most sought-after invitations around the world. Raising money for The Costume Institute, it also heralds the annual spring exhibition. The Gala itself reflects the exhibition theme, and guests dress accordingly.

For many years, Vogue has been a partner in the Gala, and this book celebrates that partnership. Vogue’s books have been stalwarts of many a coffee-table for over half a century. Always huge, lavish, and beautifully produced, they contain not just the photography for which the magazine is famous, but also fashion and social journalism of excellence.

Parties Exhibitions People is an updated edition, with material including the last five years of exhibitions and galas. All essays are by Hamish Bowles and are reproduced from his original pieces for Vogue. Bowles’s work is no mere fashion journalism, but delves into the sociological, economic, and political frameworks in which fashion sits, and which it often influences. Moving from 2001’s Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years, to 2019’s Camp: Notes on Fashion, the exhibitions have covered such diverse fashion angles as: Anglomania: Tradition & Transgression in British Fashion; Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and furniture in the 18th Century; and Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.

At nearly 400 pages, with a foreword by the Met’s Director Max Hollein, and an introduction by the great Anna Wintour, this is fantastic value.

All of Vogue’s publications contain some of the best fashion and social photography and journalism.

Parties Exhibitions People is no exception.

Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Twitter: @TraceyKorsten

Distributed by: Thames & Hudson Australia
Released: May 2020
RRP: $90.00

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