New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Throughout history, beauty has inspired artists – from the three graces in classical art to models such as Kate Moss, also artistic muse, who happens to be a co-chair of the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Gala’s annual exhibition, The Model as Muse. The work on display focuses solely on fashion and the constantly evolving ideals of beauty within this undoubtedly influential market in contemporary cultural society.

Throughout the history of fashion magazines, models have epitomized an era, and become an historical point of reference. Who can forget Moss’s pre-pubescent waif-like figure, which courted controversy in the nineties, while challenging our traditional perception of the female form? Or, Lisa Fonssagrives – often credited as the first supermodel – who not only captivated the lens, but also the hearts of photographers Fernand Fonssagrives and Irving Penn.

Iconic fashion images of the world’s “most beautiful women”, taken by the leading names, from Patrick Demarchelier and Richard Avedon, to Peter Lindbergh and Cecil Beaton, remain as enduring and as timeless as ever.

May 6, through August 9, 2009
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
New York, New York 10028-0198
T. +1 212 535 7710