By Khristina Narizhnaya
The other day at the Met, two women were bent over a computer screen.
“Are you going to write something?” one asked the other.
This isn’t your everyday scene at the august but somewhat stodgy Metropolitan Museum of Art. It used to be that only curators commented on exhibits but with the Met’s Costume Institute’s latest exhibition “blog.mode: addressing fashion,” the public gets its say as well.
In other ways, the exhibit seemed ordinary. Classical music played softly in a dimmed room on the ground floor. People crossed to and fro, admiring couture gowns and accessories by the likes of Alexander McQueen and Rei Kawakubo, displayed on invisible supports inside backlit glass windows along the walls. But in the center of the room people congregated around the “blog bar,” a table with eight computers, set up for viewers to blog about the thigh-high French fetish boots, the irregular neckline of a Yohji Yomomoto gown and the scandalous contents of the vials of a Costin “Incubus Necklace.” Their comments will be published in the exhibition’s catalogue.
The exhibit’s curators, Harold Koda and Andrew Bolt, are fashion blog fans. This interest in blogs inspired them to include a blog to create dialogue between the viewers and the newly acquired items displayed for the Institute’s latest exhibition. But in many ways, the exhibition underlines the fact that bloggers are becoming power players in the world of fashion. And others in the art world are taking notice.
James Danzinger, the owner of Chelsea gallery Danziger Projects accidentally found The Sartorialist, a photo blog by Scott Schuman, while browsing the Internet. Danziger was so enthralled by the photographs he thought they deserved a solo exhibition in his gallery, which opened in January to a fashionably-dressed crowd. Inside, 40 prints made from the images posted on thesartorialist.com, were on view.
Schuman photographs stylishly dressed people from all walks of life on streets of international style capitals including New York, Paris, Milan and Amsterdam. A beautiful redhead in a black minidress complemented by gray knee socks and green velvet peep-toe pumps smokes a cigarette nonchalantly while her hair blows in the wind. Another print features an old man in a tan cardigan and patched-up khaki pants smoking pensively on a crowded city street.
The blogging phenomenon is also thriving in Europe. London-based blogger Yvan Rodic, known as The Face Hunter (facehunter.org), has become a blogging celebrity. His Web site features a younger, wilder street fashion. A coyly smiling young girl with black hair with blonde bangs in a red peacoat leans against a wall. Another young woman spreads out her short black cape over her gray minidress. His photos have landed him exhibitions in Berlin and Paris, plus posts with multiple international fashion magazines.
It’s all a testament to the growing influence of blogging on the fashion world. Several prominent bloggers such as Manolo the Shoe Blogger (no relation to Manolo Blahnik) blogged about the Met’s exhibition. “The fact that Manolo Blahnik, himself, would sponsor the exhibition about the intersection of blogs and fashion says everything we need to know.”
Leslie Scott who blogs for fashiontribes.com, said fashion magazine are picking up on the trends she posts on her blog. “Style is coming from the streets rather than being dictated down,” said Scott. Another blog, thebagsnob.com, by Tina Craig, has been cited in publications ranging from Paris Vogue to the Wall Street Journal.
In the words of Ian Brown, just one of the hundreds of bloggers on the exhibition’s blog, “The floodgates are open, and there’s no turning back.”
Photos: (Top to bottom) Jean Paul Gaultier gown; Scott Schumann (The Sartorialist) “Untitled, Paris, 2007”