Monday, June 23, 2008

Superheros at the Met

When I was younger I read comics constantly. My dad had this great collection of comics from back when the women in comics looked like this:

not like this:

and would therefore have been spared crippling back pain. One of the many things that led me to stop reading comics was the fact that I would look at the costumes and bodies of these women and think, "wow, I'm really not the target audience for this am I?" Granted, a more significant reason was the crappy writing and plotting, but the art was definitely a problem as well. Still, I have an abiding interest in the comic book superhero and his/her place in pop culture so I was totally excited about going to see the Met Costume Institute's exhibition, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy.

The exhibition was simultaneously interesting and disappointing. It was fun to see the costumes from various movies, including the recent Iron Man and some of the fashion displayed was interesting to look at. But it wasn't what I was hoping for. Most of the fashion on exhibit was very literal in the way it used the superhero influences. The pieces mostly looked like costumes, not clothing. I would have liked to see more subtle, wearable influences. It would have made a better case for cross-pollination between superhero comics and fashion and the place of superheroes--or rather the place of ideas about superheroes--within our culture. As is it just seems like a fun chance to display some interesting costumes.


Liza said...

Well, if the exhibit reflected the picture on the site you linked to, it looks like mostly runway clothing, which is rarely if ever wearable and frequently looks like costumes.

Damn that was a long sentence. :)

Meg said...

Oh, for sure it's runway clothing, but a lot of it was particularly unwearable. I mean, there's a lot of wearable-by-models/semi-wearable runway clothing. Even a lot that is genuinely wearable. I mean, obviously there's also the stuff like this, and super-conceptual stuff, but I don't think the idea that most of the designs going down runways are unwearable the way this clothing is really holds up. :)