It all began in 1937 with the Museum of Costume Art, a wee institution that, within less than a decade, would be incorporated and renamed as the Costume Institute and become part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Between then and now, the place has been transformed by forces including Diana Vreeland, the Brooklyn Museum (which transferred its costume collection to the institute in 2009), a little exhibition about Alexander McQueen, the generosity of Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and of course, Anna Wintour. The Vogue editor-in-chief–and longtime Met trustee–will get her due when the space occupied by the Costume Institute reopens in May as the Anna Wintour Costume Center (with the Campbell-Bolton-Wintour Brit trifecta, just be grateful that they didn’t go with “Centre”). The Anna Wintour Costume Center will house the department’s exhibition galleries, library, conservation laboratory, research areas, and offices. Meanwhile, the curatorial department itself will continue to be called the Costume Institute.
“Through her bold leadership at the helm of the annual Costume Institute Benefit plus other significant fundraising, Anna has helped us realize a place where the Costume Institute can move into the future with the latest technology for creating immersive, cutting-edge exhibitions, developing new techniques for object conservation, and designing a customized collection storage facility,” said director Thomas Campbell in a statement issued late yesterday. “Her interest in our mission has allowed us to rise to new levels of growth and prominence. She is an exceptional benefactor, advocate, and friend.” According to the Met, Wintour has raised approximately $125 million for the Costume Institute: co-chairing 15 benefits since 1995 and helping to secure sponsorships and funding for exhibitions as well as for the two-year renovation and other projects.