Peacockery at the Met

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.

I love the sensitive use of paillettes in this fabric and the one below.