Correspondent Serena Altschul asked Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of the Costume institute at The Met, whether fashion really belongs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
"Yeah, I think the ephemerality of fashion sometimes goes against its serious consideration as an art form," Bolton replied. "The fact that it's often seen located within the female domain is often another reason there's this inherent sexism around fashion. And part of our role as curators is to promote the artistry of fashion, and to promote fashion [as much] as an art form as other art forms in the museum -- sculpture, painting."
In the summer of 2011, New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art bowed its blockbuster exhibition, "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," devoted to late British fashion designer.
"It was a complete surprise to us when we started to have lines around the museum," Bolton said of the McQueen show. "It was so unprepared for them as well. We don't really set out to create a blockbuster, per se."
At Boston's Museum of Fine Art, an exhibit called "#techstyle" (through July 10) explores the intersection between technology and fashion.
Pictured: A coated leather "Air" cape from British designer Lauren Bowker's The Unseen 2015 Air Collection.
Credit: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
"The attendance for fashion shows has been extraordinary," co-curator Lauren Whitley told Altschul. "Fashion shows bring in lots of people. We don't own cars, but we all own clothes, and they are very intimate to our experiences as human beings."
Pictured: 3D‑printed polyeurethane rubber and acrylic, steel cage, and cotton twill inner lining and silk satin lining Cape and Skirt, from the Voltage Collection by Iris van Herpen, designed by Neri Oxman, and printed by Stratasys Group.
Credit: Ronald Stoops/Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
To "#techstyle" co-curator Lauren Whitley, museum fashion exhibits are more than just a trend. "We've actually been showing fashion shows since the 1930s," she said. "There have been frequently occasions where major artists were interested in fashion. Picasso was involved with the stage; Coco Chanel with Hollywood. One of the most interesting was Elsa Schiaparelli, who was very close with a circle of surrealists like Dali."
Pictured: Bodysuit from the 2014 Hard Copy collection of Israeli designer Noa Raviv. Silk, polyester, tulle, cotton, beads, and 3D printed elements.
Credit: Ron Kedmi/Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Dress and bolero by Japanese designer Issey Miyake. Clothing by Reality Lab, Miyake Design Studio.
Credit: Hiroshi Iwasake/Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
2015 gown by American designer Sally LaPointe: 80% polyester, 20% polyamid; stretch silk charmeuse.
Credit: Sally LaPointe/Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Metallic leather fringe dress by English designer Giles Deacon: Leather, Swarovski crystals.
Credit: Chris Moore, Catwalking.com/Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Pair of "Molecule" shoes from Francis Bitonti Studio Inc. for Adobe. Finished and printed using Adobe Photoshop CC.
Jacket and trousers (part of a three‑piece ensemble) by Swiss designer Akris, featuring flashing LED stars, St. Gallen embroidery crepe, asymmetrical tuxedo, silk asymmetrical top, crepe boy pants, black cervocalf leather belt.
Credit: Akris/Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Pop star Viktoria Modesta wears an artificial leg, "The Spike," designed by Sophie de Oliveira de Barata of the Alternative Limb Project. From the exhibition "#techstyle."
"We have to remember fashion designers are artists," said Whitley. "There is a huge aesthetic drive behind creating fashion, and it is one of the decorative arts, like ceramics, like furniture, like jewelry."
Credit: Lukasz Suchorab/Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
"Water Splash" Crystallization dress Iris van Herpen (Dutch, born in 1984) Dutch, 2013 Plexiglass synthetic *Image Courtesy of Nick Knight and SHOWstudio.com *Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Credit: Nick Knight, SHOWstudio.com/Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Designer Isaac Mizrahi is a little more sanguine about fashion's place in museums. "Some fashion belongs in museums, you know? And some really doesn't," he told Altschul.
X-ray, Fall 2010 Cashmere and acetate coat, from "Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History."
For Mizrahi, museum-worthy fashion falls into two categories: historically significant or visually mesmerizing.
"I think that Alexander McQueen stands on its own, right? You could have looked at that 100 years ago, or 100 years from now. It's the craft of it, you know? Whereas like, again, Chanel or Halston was such a thing about the time that they lived in."
Credit: Jason Frank Rothenberg/The Jewish Museum
Mizrahi's "The Real Thing" (Spring 1994) used paillettes made from real Coca-Cola cans.
Credit: Jason Frank Rothenberg/The Jewish Museum
Installation view of the exhibition "Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History," at the Jewish Museum in New York City.
Left: Oscar de la Renta cocktail dress Resort 1969 (printed silk organza), from the Kent State University Museum. Photograph by Erin Burns.
Right: Oscar de la Renta evening dress Fall 2014 (black silk satin, gold lamé, gilt feather appliqué). Photograph by Dan Lecca.
Credit: De Young Museum
"Flapper Style: 1920s Fashion"
The Roaring Twenties ("The greatest gaudiest spree in history," wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald) roars back to life in "Flapper Style: 1920s Fashion" at Kent State University Museum, Kent, Ohio (through Sept. 4, 2016).
Credit: Kent State University Museum
"Missoni: Art, Colour, Fashion"
"Missoni Art Colour"at London's Fashion and Textile Museum (through September 4, 2016) showcases the work of Italian designers Ottavio and Rosita Missoni.
Credit: Hiroshi Iwasaki/National Art Center, Tokyo
"Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage" explores the impact of the Dutch textile company, founded in 1846, and features not only Vlisco's extraordinarily bold patterns but also the works of African and European fashion designers. At the Philadelphia Museum of Art (through Jan. 22, 2017).
Pictured: From Vlisco's Dazzling Graphics collection, 2011.
Credit: Fritz Kok/Philadelphia Museum of Art
A view of sketches from Isaac Mizrahi's New York collection show, fall 1988, on view at "Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History."