The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum in New York has a new exhibit of photography, The Model as Muse, which opens today and runs through August 9.

We have a love/hate relationship with models. Love because, well, who doesn’t admire beauty? Hate because a body type that is unattainable for most women has become the cultural standard of attractiveness. Yet in recent years the supercelebrity status of models has been fading–there’s no young model with the star power of a Cindy, a Naomi, or a Gisele–in part, some say, because these days designers prefer a blank canvas. That’s fine by me–I prefer to look at the clothes. Means they’re doing their jobs.

Cathy Horyn reviews the exhibit in the New York Times, noting that the most powerful images are from the 50s and 60s, when fashion photography was really coming into its own. She mentions photographer Steven Meisel, Vogue’s current Anointed One, only in passing, and notes the surprising omission of designer Azzedine Alaia (which caused the designer to ask models not to wear his work to last Saturday’s Vogue gala kicking off the show). But it wouldn’t be fashion without a soupçon of backbiting, now, would it?