The Met’s New Show Celebrates One Woman’s Extraordinary Couture Collection

Pin It
Metropolitan Museum of Art Sandy Schreier Exhibition 2019
Evening Dress, Cristóbal Balenciaga (Spanish, 1895 – 1972) for House of Balenciaga (French, founded 1937), summer 1961; Promised gift of Sandy SchreierPhoto © Nicholas Alan Cope / Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The New York museum’s latest Costume Institute exhibition will feature the vast collection of Sandy Schreier, one of America’s most prolific collectors of fashion

This afternoon, The Met has announced the subject of its latest fashion exhibition: Sandy Schreier, a little-known American couture collector, whose vast archive numbers pieces from masters of the medium Elsa Schiaparelli, Cristóbal BalenciagaKarl Lagerfeld and Madeleine Vionnet, alongside rare outfits by Lanvin, Adrian, Fortuny and Madeleine & Madeleine, among others. With over 15,000 pieces in her collection, she is likely the most prolific fashion collector in America. 

Beginning this November in the museum’s Costume Institute – currently housing blockbuster exhibition Camp: Notes on Fashion, which ends this September – In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection will show 80 of the 165 pieces Schreier has promised to donate to the museum permanently in the coming years. The garments and ephemera on show will span over a century of fashion, from a Paul Poiret illustration dated 1908 to a Philip Treacy hat from 2014, the most recent piece in the collection. The exhibition will also celebrate Schreier’s own journey and love for clothes, curated by curator in charge of the Costume Institute Andrew Bolton and associate curator Jessica Regan.

Schreier began collecting as a child, when wealthy clients of her father – he worked in Detroit’s Russeks department store, in the fur department – would gift the young Schreier, who often spent time at the store, couture gowns they had worn once and would not wear again. A lifelong love of fashion and clothing followed; alongside previously lending garments to The Met for various exhibitions at the Costume Institute, she has also written two books on movie-star style, Hollywood Dressed & Undressed: A Century of Cinema Style and Hollywood Gets Married.

“These pieces have been a part of my life almost my entire life,” Schreier told The New York Times today of the collection. “They are a part of my family.”

In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection opens on November 27, 2019 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.