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Richard Martin

RICHARD MARTIN HAS LONG been associated with the formal presentation of fashion for contemplation. Less recollected, perhaps, as former editor of Arts magazine than as past director of the galleries at the Fashion Institute of Technology, his endeavors have always been as firmly situated in an appreciation of cultural nuance as in more overtly esthetic analysis. Hoping to balance as well as to challenge received notions of what distinguishes the vulgar from the vaunted, Martin has assumed the mantle of the legendary Diana Vreeland in curating the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We were given the occasion to spend the afternoon with him during the run of “Haute Couture,” the Costume Institute’s winter show (the opening of which is traditionally a significant event of the social season in Manhattan).

Meeting with him in the trustee’s dining room at the Met, I was accompanied

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