Taylor Swift’s Most Fabulous Outfits Go on View in NYC

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Left: A customized costume designed by Marina Toybina (photo Bruce M. White, courtesy MAD); right: Taylor Swift wearing the costume portion performing “All Too Well” (2012) during the 2013-2014 RED circuit (photo Christie Goodwin/TAS Rights Management, courtesy MAD)

Just erstwhile you thought the Taylor Swift media frenzy had yet died after her past MetLife concert, the megalith popular prima rises again, this clip astatine Manhattan’s Museum of Art and Design (MAD). On presumption done September 4, Taylor Swift: Storyteller exhibits dresses, guitars, jewelry, and props the instrumentalist has utilized passim her astir two-decade-long career.

After 17 years, Swift’s vocation is someway inactive gaining steam. A level beneath MAD’s bustling exhibition, the museum’s acquisition store hawks Taylor Swift merch to her ever-growing fanbase. Swift conscionable performed this past play astatine the MetLife Stadium successful New Jersey, wherever 70,000 radical filled the seats astatine 3 sold-out performances arsenic portion of her 52-show Eras tour. Additional fans listened extracurricular the stadium.

The amusement is connected presumption done September 4. (photo Elaine Velie/Hyperallergic)

Visitors to the Taylor Swift: Storyteller accumulation are instantly greeted by a blown-up reproduction of the hand-scrawled lyrics to the 2012 deed “All Too Well” (10-minute version), the magnificently recounted communicative of a past emotion (Jake Gyllenhaal) which has mostly go Swift’s magnum opus. Toward the back, the penned lyrics of “Tim McGraw” (2006), Swift’s archetypal azygous which she wrote astatine 14, are besides painted connected the wall. The tiny assemblage abstraction projects Swift euphony videos with their soundtracks blaring.

The accumulation includes 2 iterations of Swift’s iconic “Fearless dress” — the sparkly fringed garment she wore with cowboy boots successful early-career appearances and has revisited successful consequent performances. (As an Eras tour attendee, I tin corroborate that the bulk of fans, myself included, attempted immoderate signifier of this outfit.)

A mentation of Taylor Swift’s “Fearless dress” and a gown from the Speak Now (2010) circuit (photo by Bruce M. White; courtesy MAD)

A flowing Marchesa gown from the Speak Now (2010) circuit recalls the epoch erstwhile Swift dressed arsenic a princess. A Red (2012) formal references erstwhile she went for the cringy indie benignant of the aboriginal 2010s (jazz shoes?!), and a 1989 (2014) costume updates the fringed costume successful agleam green. A Lover (2019) displays the vibrant colors she wore successful the euphony videos for the heartwarming medium she wrote erstwhile she was dating her then-boyfriend Joe Alwyn.

Swift’s BCBG May Azria formal and customized boots by Liberty (photo Elaine Velie/Hyperallergic)

One of the champion pieces successful the amusement is simply a frilly sky-blue formal that Swift wore successful 2007 erstwhile she opened connected Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s associated tour. She was 16. It’s from BCBG Maxazria, a decidedly little “designer” promenade marque than consequent Swift outfitters. It gives much “eighth-grade graduation” than “global superstar.” The formal is simultaneously wholly dated to 2007 and adorably timestamped successful girly teenagerdom. It emerges arsenic a uncommon entity from Swift’s aboriginal vocation and a wholly bygone clip play successful her celebrity: Before she had an ever-present PR team, possibly this is thing Swift conscionable picked retired and liked.

The amusement is not rather chronological, often showcasing seemingly random outfits side-by-side. As I meandered through years and albums presented passim the exhibition, it struck maine that possibly its top gully is simply Swift’s personage — the thought that she touched the astir 50 objects conscionable feet distant connected the different broadside of the solid show cases — and not the objects themselves.

Swift is simultaneously obsessed with and dismissive of her aesthetic, consistently self-aware that she is playing formal portion outwardly maintaining the aforesaid property careless of her existent look connected stage. She has a antithetic look for each “era,” which is what she calls each of her 10 albums. At the May 19 Boston performance I attended, Swift admitted that creating the folklore (2020) pandemic medium successful the benignant of deep-woods cottage-core was a mode to unreal she wasn’t “a millennial pistillate subsisting mostly connected achromatic wine.” Across the country, hundreds of thousands of Eras circuit concertgoers each formal up to wage tribute to a circumstantial album.

The show for the 2019 Lover epoch (photo Elaine Velie/Hyperallergic)

The immense bulk of the exhibition’s objects would lone beryllium recognized by the astir die-hard fans. While sparkling and over-the-top, the costumes, galore of which person been swiftly forgotten, marque wide that Swift’s magic lies elsewhere: In however she writes, performs, and maintains a steadfast property that has elicited a wide lovability and assembled a brigade of fans unprecedented successful euphony history.

Tickets to Taylor Swift: Storyteller outgo $25, with admittance to the museum’s different exhibitions included.

Costumes Swift wore successful her “Bejeweled” (2022) euphony video (photo by Bruce M. White; courtesy MAD) 

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Elaine Velie is simply a writer from New Hampshire surviving successful Brooklyn. She studied Art History and Russian astatine Middlebury College and is funny successful art's relation successful history, culture, and politics.

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