The New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, opened in 1937, is the country's largest collection of historic clothing gathered from around the world and dating back many centuries. Many high-profile museum shows have been mounted by the Costume Institute in recent years, including exhibitions on the fashions of Coco Chanel, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Diana Vreeland, Gianni Versace and many other icons of the fashion world. Theme exhibitions have been created on eclectic topics ranging from superhero costumes to the evolution of American women's clothing to the fashion styles of famous rock 'n roll bands.
In recent years, however, exhibit space available in the museum for costume shows has deteriorated and become inadequate for the more than 35,000 pieces available for display from the Costume Institute's collections. Exhibition space became a more serious shortcoming in 2009, when the Metropolitan Costume Institute acquired the famed contents of the Brooklyn Museum of Art's costume gallery and combined the collections.
Fortunately, travel industry leader Jonathan Tisch, who is chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels, as well as a part-owner of the New York football Giants, stepped forward earlier this year with his wife Liz Tisch to donate $10 million to the renovation of the Costume Institute. The result, as announced by the Metropolitan Museum, is a complete renovation being undertaken of the outdated display area that will allow exhibitions to take place in more spacious and modern galleries as much as 10 months per year. The new space will be named the Tisch Gallery of the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute at an opening date yet to be announced. Fashion fans can watch for this year's annual May Costume Institute Gala Benefit that has become one of New York's most publicized celebrity nights of the year. It features its own red carpet scene with entertainment stars in fashion designer gowns paying, as of 2010, more than $6,000 per plate to join New York's glitterati to benefit the museum.