At ARROJO Cosmetology, we pride ourselves on giving students a world-class and well-rounded education. Cue our late summer field trips to the Metropolitan Museum, where the American Woman Exhibition revealed to students how the American woman initiated style revolutions that mirrored her social, political, and sexual emancipation.
The exhibition featured more than 80 examples of haute couture and high-fashion for students to study and be inspired by. Circular galleries enabled students to walk through the times that reflect the milieu of each feminine archetype.
The first gallery the students entered is filled with the ball gowns of Charles Frederick Worth, and evokes the ballroom of the “Heiress” of the 1890’s. Next, scenes of the great outdoors showcase the athleticism and physical independence of the “Gibson Girl,” characterized by bathing costumes, riding ensembles, and cycling suits.
As they move through the galleries, students see the Bohemian style of the early 20th century, the suffragist social and style upheaval of 1910-20, and the all singing, all dancing Flappers of the 1920’s.
By the 1930’s the screen siren was very much in vogue and the penultimate gallery pays homage to the sophisticated women of that time. Finally, a video installation featuring the likes of Serena Williams and Michelle Obama encourages students to explore how today’s ideal of American style evolved from each of the exhibition’s archetypes.
Afterwards each student, many of whom had never been here before, got to take the full tour of the Met, and were set two tasks designed for their edification: One, pick a painting, study its colors, its mood, its theme, and share those insights with the rest of the class; two, find a sculpture and use it as a muse to create one fabulous updo - and back in class, we saw students produce amazing updos, with everything from the modern geometric to the Grecian Goddess used as sources of inspiration.
In fashion, the future flows from the past. Inspiration is taken from what has gone before. And the sphere of influence spans the social and political, as well as the avant-garde and artistic. For the next generation of stylists to enter the fashion and beauty industry, these are vital lessons in historical context, in the way tastes and styles evolve. It gives an acquired knowledge to set students apart. At ARROJO Cosmetology, that’s all part of the program.