The New Met Fashion Exhibit Defines American Fashion

The exhibition takes a more clear shape with Ford’s room, which comes around the halfway mark and is dedicated to the 1973 Battle of Versailles that established American fashion as an international style force. To mimic the stakes and exhilaration of the historic fashion show that saw American ready-to-wear designers — Bill Blass, Stephen Burrows, Halston, Anne Klein, and Oscar de la Renta — compete against French couturiers — Christian Dior’s Marc Bohan, Pierre Cardin, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, and Emmanuel Ungaro — the Nocturnal Animals director staged a literal battle. Shown against John Vanderlyn’s early-19th-century painting “Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles,” mannequins appear caught mid-tussle in feather-adorned cuffs, printed skirt sets, and sequined dresses from the aforementioned designers.

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