NPR logo Models As Muses

Daily Picture Show

Models As Muses

What do Twiggy, Richard Avedon and Justin Timberlake all have in common? They're all involved in an upcoming exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.

For full screen, click on the four-cornered arrow icon in the viewer's bottom right.

The exhibit features fashion models from throughout the past century. But it's less about the clothes, and more about the distinctive women who have inspired designers, photographers and an entire culture. The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion reframes these lanky beauties as symbols of social evolution.

What models symbolize may be controversial, but they're symbolic nonetheless.
The tall, angular muses of the 1920s embody a deco departure from the cult of domesticity. Timeless post-World War II images by Richard Avedon and Irving Penn show the ascent of a more artistic form of fashion photography. Twiggy, the lanky, androgynous fashion icon of the 1960s, is the paragon of aesthetic rebellion. And 1980s supermodels such as Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington pave the way for fashion megastars like Kate Moss.

The exhibition runs from May 6 to Aug. 9. The chairman is designer Marc Jacobs, along with Kate Moss, Justin Timberlake and Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue.

By Claire O'Neill

The Picture Show on Facebook or on Twitter