I had high hopes for the Met’s current Costume Institute show, blog.mode. I always have high hopes for Costume Institute shows. They’ve got such a great collection, and sometimes they group things in very interesting ways. However, this show, which I thought was going to be about how blog culture and technology have influenced/are influenced by fashion, turned out to be a disappointment. It didn’t have anything to hold it together. It was merely a random assortment of the Costume Institute’s collection, and it was accompanied by the standard overly wordy and pretentious wall text labels.
Even the shoes they had on display weren’t all that special for the most part. There were a few noteworthy footwear items, though, and those I’ll certainly share with you all.
These European court shoes from the mid 18th century were beautiful, and in very good shape. The embroidery was gorgeous.
These Victorian era fetish boots were my favorite shoe in the show.
The label made a snide comment about how these were included even though they don’t really belong in a fashion collection, which I think is complete crap, because look at these boots and tell me future fashions didn’t stem from this look. High spike heels? Thigh high boots? Buttons running all the way up? Since when does the fashion world not look to sub/counter culture for inspiration? In fact, there were a number of Vivienne Westwood pieces included in the show, including these pink platforms.
These (along with much of Westwood’s other design work) owe a cheeky debt to the underworld of prostitution and club-going. If I had my druthers, I’d take those Victorian boots, but the relationship is pretty clear.
And the final word in fetishizing women’s footwear (and thereby women’s feet and women themselves) in this show is this Manolo Blahnik Bhutan heel-less shoe from spring/summer 2006.
I know shoes weren’t the sole focus (pun intended… heh) of this show, but the conclusions drawn about the shoes that were on display seemed very scattered and contradictory, much like the show overall.
Thankfully, part of this show is a blog where anyone is invited to chime in with their own thoughts about the show and about specific items in it. I went to town on the pretentiousness of the presentation, and felt quite vindicated upon leaving the museum.
In conclusion: If you’re looking for a good museum exhibition involving shoes and you’re near the Northeast, check out the Boston MFA’s Walk this Way show, and skip the Met’s blog.mode.