Now that she has raised about $125 million over the past 20 years or so, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has named the newly renovated space that holds The Costume Institute after Condé Nast Creative Director, Vogue Editor-in-Chief and famous bob-wearer Anna Wintour (pictured left). After a two-year renovation, the section of the museum that houses the department will be renamed the Anna Wintour Costume Center, and the new name will appear above the staircase leading to the department when it reopens this Spring with the exhibition, Charles james: Beyond Fashion. While the name of the curatorial department itself will remain The Costume Institute, Ms. Wintour's name will grace nearly all of its facilities including the newly expanded 4,2000 square foot main showcase, the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery, the Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery, The Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library, and newly upgraded conservation laboratory and storage facility that holds the recently combined costume collections of the Met and the Brooklyn Museum —so her name will be an umbrella of sorts under which some other important patron's names will fall as well.
Having co-chaired 15 of the museum's annual Costume Institute benefits since 1995, and turned an already highly prominent fundraiser into one of the most glamorous and widely covered (as well as lucrative) media events anywhere, Ms. Wintour has more than earned a permanent tribute from the museum where she has been a trustee since 1999. The famously controversial editor has helped connect the Costume Institute with sponsors for special exhibition and funding for many projects like the recent renovations, and now joins the ranks of other patrons whose names are indelibly etched on the walls of one of the world's greatest art institutions. Much will likely be made of this development in May by Ms. Wintour's admirers and detractors when the next gala takes place this May, but whatever your opinion of her as a fashion and media figure may be, it's tough to argue that she hasn't had a lasting and beneficial effect on the museum.