Erté’s Illustrations at the Met, New York

While the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute is hosting China: Through the Looking Glass in the museum’s Asian wing, the drawings and prints department has its own fashionable exhibit on view. In its Selections From the Permanent Collection, hosted in the Robert Wood Johnson Jr. Gallery, are several of iconic fashion illustrator and designer Erté’s illustrations of Delman shoes. The gouache drawings depict everything from ruffled booties to column-heeled pumps, highlighting the secondary colors and fluid geometry Erté was known for—you might remember him equally for his illustrations of Paul Poiret’s designs or his famed Vogue covers, one of which featured a particularly Poiret-esque belle riding a peacock. The works in the exhibit are also accompanied by several pairs of shoes from the era by other designers; the museum notes that while Erté and Delman collaborated for several years, only the illustrations of the shoes remain. Astute fans will note that this isn’t the first time Erté’s pieces were shown under the Met’s roof. In 1967, the museum acquired many of his pieces, which it then showed in the 1968 exhibit Erté and Some of His Contemporaries. His drawings were also included in the Costume Institute’s 2007 Poiret: King of Fashion exhibit. The occasion for getting the Ertés out of the archive in 2015? The 25th anniversary of the designer’s death. Sure, the peg for the exhibit is a touch morose, but visitors to the 80th Street spot might take any excuse to see the artist and designer’s gouache drawings up close. Drawing and Prints: Selections From the Permanent Collection is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through September 28, 2015.

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