Schiaparelli and Prada – Impossible Conversations on view at the Met: May 10–August 19, 2012
Left: Elisa Schiaparelli George Hoyningen-Huené (Russian, 1900–1968)
Portrait of Elsa Schiaparelli, 1932
Courtesy of Hoyningen-Huené/Vogue
© Condé Nast
Right: Guido Harari (Italian, born Cairo, 1952)
Portrait of Miuccia Prada, 1999
Courtesy of Guido Harari/Contrasto/Redux
I’m absolutely ecstatic about The Met Costume Institute exhibition this year: Schiaparelli and Prada – Impossible Conversations. And, of course, it will kick off tomorrow evening with the Met 2012 gala presented by Amazon.com/Fashion and Vogue. The idea for year’s exhibit stemmed from an old 1930s Vanity Fair column which invented a dialogue and conversation between two individuals that did not and could not actually occur. Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada are both Italian female designers who have challenged convention, embraced a new idea of femininity and feminine fashion, and explored similar themes through their designs from different eras. It will be fascinating to see pieces from their collections (which explore similar themes) paired next to one another in unexpected ways.
The exhibit will explore both their similarities and differences through a thematic conversation and comparison. And, as Vogue shared, for the very first time in history - the red carpet at this year’s Costume Institute Gala at the Met will be broadcast live online from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on Monday, May 7th. The online event will be hosted by Elettra Wiedemann and Vogue’s William Norwich. Read more here.
The Met has listed the seven different themes that are to be explored in this exhibition:
Waist Up/Waist Down” will look at Schiaparelli’s use of decorative detailing as a response to restaurant dressing in the heyday of 1930s café society, while showing Prada’s below-the-waist focus as a symbolic expression of modernity and femininity. An accessories subsection of this gallery called “Neck Up/Knees Down” will showcase Schiaparelli’s hats and Prada’s footwear.
“Ugly Chic” will reveal how both women subvert ideals of beauty and glamour by playing with good and bad taste through color, prints, and textiles.
“Naïf Chic” will focus on Schiaparelli and Prada’s adoption of a girlish sensibility to subvert expectations of age-appropriate dressing.
“The Classical Body,” which also incorporates “The Pagan Body,” explores the designers’ engagement with antiquity through the gaze of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
“The Exotic Body” will explore the influence of Eastern cultures through fabrics such as lamé, and silhouettes such as saris and sarongs.
“The Surreal Body” in the final gallery will illustrate how both women affect contemporary images of the female body through Surrealistic practices such as displacement, playing with scale, and blurring the boundaries between reality and illusion as well as the natural and the artificial.
I can’t wait to see this exhibit in person. And, I will hopefully be hosting a Met gala viewing party next year!
* images from the Met – more information here.\ follow @voguemagazine on Twitter (#MetGala).