The gown assortment is an eyeful at the new exhibition "Goddess," an event presented by the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The concept for the show, May 1-August 3, 2003, is tracing the influence that clothes and motifs of ancient Greece have had on fashion, whether in the 18th and 19th centuries or in the present. It is instructive to look at the creations of some of our most famous contemporary designers and note the Hellenic inspiration.

The exhibition is sponsored by Gucci. Those who work in the fashion world will of course be specially interested, but persons unschooled in the art of design should be fascinated by the examples on display. Some of the gowns, whether in red or in oyster, are stunning and one could easily visualize them as part of the annual fashion binges at the Oscar awards.

Concerning the prevalence of clothing inspired by Greek motifs, as I ambled through the show a woman passed by wearing an outfit that illustrated the point. At the press showing numbers had not yet been placed by the encased exhibits to match the numbered explanations, so one had to search a bit to find the matches. But a museum staff member assured me all would be in place by the May 1 opening.

The Metropolitan is going all out with this colorful show, kicked off by a celebrity-laden gala and accompanied by special gallery talks and film showings of "Ben-Hur," "One Touch of Venus," "Medea" and "Gladiator." At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. Phone: 212-535-7710.

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