Slack-jawed with wonder at the 18th-century fashions on display at Dangerous Liaisons, the Met Costume Institute’s paean to the French ruling class circa 1760? If the lushness on display leaves no doubt as to why Republicans guillotined these pannier-wearers a few decades later, it’s still amazing fun to view wig-wearing dilettantes in their natural setting.
But the Met is hardly the only destination tantalizing art-loving fashionistas this season: The descendants of those Parisian aristos can be seen strolling on Madison Avenue any Saturday, and from now until Saturday, May 15, it’s easy for you to join them.
Enter those stuffy boutiques as if you own them, and inform the salespeople you’re there for a higher purpose than mere shopping. Madison Avenue: Where Fashion Meets Art, a partnership between shops and galleries, offers everything from video installations at Calvin Klein to collages at Chanel. Then stroll down Fifth Avenue to 52nd Street, where the Ferragamo shoe store offers “Sweet & Sour”: “a fashionable exhibition of provocative paradoxes” (pictures of shoes, in other words, by a group of artists that includes Jude Law’s sister).
Or take the No. 6 train downtown and visit Lilith (227 Mulberry Street), where the baggy-chic French clothes have been joined by an exhibit of painting and sculpture entitled “The First Woman” that features the work of three French artists: Veronique Soriano, Catherine Dupire, and Catherine Scellier.
Still thirsty? At Agnes b. Homme (79 Greene Street) the outfits share space with artwork by Craig Costello. Lastly, if you prefer your art in a setting that does not include fitting rooms, we bring to your attention an email this office recently received from avant-garde downtown personality–fashion designer Kembra Pfahler of the band the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black: “Hello, I am part of a group show @ Kenny Schacter Grove gallery, on Perry Street bet. Greenwich St and Hudson. It has a bunch of my fashion and performance junk collaged there.”