NEW YORK — For the first time, nearly all of the Costume Institute’s large collection of clothing has been translated into an online database.
The project was started in 2000, and since then the department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art has worked on formatting and digitizing information on 29,432 objects from the 31,000-piece collection. It is available to view through the museum’s Web site under Collection Database at metmuseum.org/works_of_art/the_costume_institute. The move is part of the museum’s initiative to showcase its entire holdings online.
“We’re involved in working with the collection to prepare for a rehousing of it,” said Harold Koda, curator in charge of the Costume Institute. “We have grown so much and would like to house everything properly, and in conjunction with that, we started to document things that hadn’t been reviewed since they first came in in the Forties. Once we got the information together, we thought it would be ideal if the general public could log in and, for instance, find all of our Christian Diors.”
The online archive will be continuously updated, and viewers can zoom in on many of the pieces. It serves as more than just an online catalogue. During the Costume Institute’s recent “blog.mode: addressing fashion” exhibit, the curators learned it has an engaged audience beyond the New York metropolitan area, with e-mails coming in from Eastern Europe and Asia.
Not every documented piece is accompanied by an image, and the Costume Institute continues to photograph items and update their information. Koda said that, in the same vein as “blog.mode,” the Costume Institute also hopes to gather more information on pieces in its collection, as well as corrections, where appropriate.
Asked about the process, Koda said: “You had to transfer all of the information from different record systems. Some were files, some were cards, but through the years, there was a great deal of inconsistency.
“Some of the things we learned were completely unexpected,” he added. “One of the things we found out was that we had some very early Vionnets that were never classified as Vionnets because whoever catalogued it originally in the Fifties or Sixties just happened to miss the label.”
The project was made possible in part by the The John and Annamaria Phillips Foundation, Jane Hays Butler, Paul D. Schurgot Foundation and an anonymous donor.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast