Schiaparelli & Prada Met Exhibit – Impossible Conversations
May 11, 2012 by J.T.
Monday May 7, 2012 – Metropolitan Museum of Art
The spring 2012 exhibition organized by The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art is Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations. The exhibition, on view from May 10 through August 19, 2012, explores the striking affinities between these two Italian designers from different eras. Inspired by Miguel Covarrubias’s satirical “Impossible Interviews” for Vanity Fair in the 1930s, curators Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton orchestrate conversations between these iconic women to suggest new readings of the designers’ most innovative work.
“Given the role Surrealism and other art movements play in the designs of both Schiaparelli and Prada, it seems only fitting that their inventive creations be explored here at the Met,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Schiaparelli’s collaborations with Dalí and Cocteau as well as Prada’s Fondazione Prada push art and fashion ever closer, in a direct, synergistic, and culturally redefining relationship.”
To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, the Museum’s Costume Institute Benefit took place yesterday night (see the Met Gala best looks below). For the first time in its history, red carpet arrivals were streamed live on metmuseum.org, amazon.com/fashion, and vogue.com. The evening’s Honorary Chair was Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com. Co-Chairs are actress Carey Mulligan, designer Miuccia Prada, and Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue. This fundraising event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, acquisitions, and capital improvements.
The exhibition is organized by Harold Koda, Curator in Charge, and Andrew Bolton, Curator, both of the Met’s Costume Institute. Film director, screenwriter, and producer Baz Luhrmann is the exhibition’s creative consultant, and has created a series of filmed elements for the exhibition. The production design for the films is by Luhrmann’s longtime collaborator, Catherine Martin. The exhibition design is realized by Nathan Crowley, who serves as production designer (he was creative consultant for the Met’s exhibitions Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy and American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity). All mannequin head treatments and masks are designed by Guido Palau.
In the galleries, iconic ensembles by Schiaparelli and Prada are presented alongside short videos of simulated conversations between the two designers directed by Luhrmann, focusing on how the women explore similar themes in their work through very different approaches.
“Juxtaposing the work of Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada allows us to explore how the past enlightens the present and how the present enlivens the past,” said Koda.
“The connection of the historic to the modern highlights the affinities as well as the variances between two women who constantly subverted contemporary notions of taste, beauty, and glamour,” added Bolton.
The exhibition, in the Metropolitan Museum’s first-floor special exhibition galleries, features approximately 100 designs and 40 accessories by Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973) from the late 1920s to the early 1950s, and by Miuccia Prada from the late 1980s to the present, drawn from The Costume Institute’s collection and the Prada Archive, as well as other institutions and private collections. Eight short videos created by Luhrmann, in which Prada talks with Schiaparelli, who is played by actress Judy Davis, animate the entry gallery and the seven themed sections of the exhibition and provide the thread that connects the objects. In the films, “Schiap” and Prada are seated at a dining table in dialogue that has been created using paraphrased excerpts from Schiaparelli’s autobiography, Shocking Life, and Prada’s filmed remarks. Visitors will have the impression of eavesdropping on a fantastical meeting of two great fashion minds.
Natalia Vodianova wore a halter open back Louis Vuitton gown made of mini broderie anglaise covered with a layer of black silk voile. The gown is hand embroidered with beaded flowers and took more than 300 hours of work in the atelier. Natalia Vodianova also wore a ivory satin pair of sandals and a pair of earrings in white gold and diamonds from the L’Ame du Voyage high jewellery collection. (Photo Courtesy of Louis Vuitton)
Supermodel Coco Rocha wearing a vintage Givenchy embroidered suit previously owned by Elizabeth Taylor. Rocha bought the yellow and fuschia jumpsuit and jacket at auction in December (Source USA Today)
Actress Dakota Fanning wore a lavender Louis Vuitton organza gown. The jupon is made of tulle and covered with organza, embroidered with flowers made of hand stitched organza ribbons. Dakota Fanning also wore satin sandals and a silk lavender minaudière with old metal finishing. (Photo Courtesy of Louis Vuitton)
British actress and Burberry Body Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is Wearing a copper and black draped-back tulle dress with hand-embroidered glass beads and shoes all by Burberry. Burberry ad campaign photographer Mario Testino is Wearing a black two button grosgrain notch lapel tuxedo and dress shirt all by Burberry. (Photo Courtesy of Burberry)
Model Joan Smalls wearing a Balmain Fall/Winter 2012 dress, belt and boots, with Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing. (Photo Courtesy of Balmain Facebook)
See all the photos below: