Elaborate Embroidery: Fabrics for Menswear before 1815 is just two walls of cases showing swatches. It is a little hard to find being down a small stair case off of a medieval room. This beautiful succinct show gives us a moment when men’s clothing was adorned with a care and cost one can’t really fathom now. The thoughtfulness and precision are a marvel and worth spending some time with. Some of the samples are visible online.
The show is concurrent with the Met’s huge, full, and decontexturalizing China: Through the looking glass. This much smaller and focused show in the Antonio Ratti Textile Center is a restful and clear counterpoint to the other show's bombast and breadth.
Ratti is a hot mill in Como, Italy. Any vintage Larsen Velvet (that isn’t batiked) was made by Ratti. Mr. Ratti had a love of textiles that so deep he founded this small center and also a museum in Como.