The Met’s Costume Institute Brings Prada and Schiaparelli Together in Rare Exhibit

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The Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute makes the impossible possible.
After the success of “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” the famed New York museum paired Italian designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada in the exploration of the striking similarities of the creators from such different eras.
Andrew Bolton, one of the two curators behind the exhibition, explained the desire behind the show.
“We chose Schiaparelli and Prada for many reasons but primarily because they both share this passion to provoke and to challenge our expectations of beauty, of chic and even what we mean by fashion. But very subtly, so the clothes always remain wearable, but the provocations are very subtle but also very deeply ingrained in their clothes. So we felt that they would have a great conversation together because the shared this, this ability to provoke and challenge,” said Bolton.
As Schiaparelli and Prada’s pieces hang side by side, the exhibition is transformed into more than an aesthetic journey about fashion, as a rare conversation between the two designers narrate their inspired perspectives and creative strategies through short films created by critically-acclaimed director, Baz Luhrmann.
“I think that people are just excited about the conversations. I think that they’re surprised by the similarities between Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli and I also think they love the films, the films are really, in a way, make the conversations alive and more accessible for the visitors. So I think they are engaging very much with those,” Bolton told Reuters.
The “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations” was influenced by one of the features in the U.S. magazine Vanity Fair, where a dialogue unfolds between iconic persons from the past and present. For this exhibition, Elsa Schiaparelli is portrayed by actress Judy Davis, and her words are from Schiaparelli’s memoir which she herself wrote in the 1950’s.
Upon entering the exhibition, imaginations of both designers are identified both in the series of short films and in the wide array of clothing in each stage that depicts specific styles and form for which both designers are celebrated for. The conceptual banter between the designers give life to the inanimate objects, sharing their impressions of what is chic, beautiful, and fashion forward.
Nearly 100 designs and 40 accessories make up the exhibit from Schiaparelli from the late 1920s to the early 50s and Prada from the late 80s until now. Eight short videos fill out the space, which is separated into seven sections.
Some the world’s biggest celebrities will help open the exhibit with the museum’s annual gala benefit on Monday (May 7) night.This exhibition by the Met Costume Institute runs from May 10 to August 19.

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