Thursday, 10 May 2012

Schiaparelli and Prada at MET

If you're in New York or plan to go there in the near future don't miss the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute exhibition Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, exploring the striking affinities between these two Italian designers.

Portrait of Elsa Schiaparelli, 1932: Hoyningen-Huené/Vogue; © Condé Nast
Portrait of Miuccia Prada, 1999: Guido Harari/Contrasto/Redux
(Both courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The red carpet images from the gala preceding the public opening have already been circulating the web. This fundraising event was live streamed for the first time in its history and I've selected the most beautiful dresses, organising them in different groups: black, white, gold, silver, colourful and romantic.  

Rihanna (Tom Ford), Gisele Bundchen (Givenchy) and Rene Zellweger (Emilio Pucci)

Inspired by Miguel Covarrubia's satirical "Impossible Interviews" for Vanity Fair in the 1930s, curators Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton orchestrate conversations between Schiaparelli and Prada to suggest new readings of the designers' most innovative work.

"They both believe in breaking the rules in fashion." Anna Wintour

Claire Danes (J. Mendel), Anna Wintour (Prada) and Amy Adams (Giambattista Valli)

The exhibition features short films created by Luhrmann in which Prada talks with Schiaparelli, who is played by actress Judy Davis. They are seated at a dining table in dialogue that has been created using paraphrased excerpts from Schiaparelli's autobiography, Shocking Life.

Jessica Alba (Michael Kors), Carey Mulligan (Prada) and Karolina Kurkova (Rachel Zoe)

"Shiaparelli'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." Thomas Campbell, Director and CEO of the MET

Camille Belle (Ralph Lauren), Cameron Diaz (Stella McCartney) and Lana Del Rey (Altuzarra)

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, natural and artificial.

Emily Blunt (Calvin Klein), Gwyneth Paltrow (Prada) and January Jones (Versace) 

Schiaparelli, who worked in Paris from the 1920s until her house closed in 1954, was associated closely with the Surrealist movement and created iconic pieces such as the 'tear' dress and the 'bug' necklace.

Sarah Jessica Parker (Valentino), Florence Welch (Alexander McQueen)
and Scarlett Johansson (Dolce & Gabbana)

Prada holds a degree in political science and has also studied mime which she describes as 'an abstract expression'. She took over her family's Milan-based business in 1978 due to the influence of Patrizio Bertelli, now her husband and Chief Executive of the Prada Group.

Wallis Simpson in Elsa Schiaparelli, Vogue, June 1, 1937, Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's
Miuccia Prada, spring/summer 2011, Photograph © David Sims

Just as Schiaparelli, Prada is always pushing fashion forward. "I really hate things that are obvious, things that I've already seen. I always try to do something new." Their brave approach to fashion and unique vision certainly inspire us all.

Elsa Schiaparelli, Vogue, June 1, 1935, Photograph by Horst, Horst / Vogue; © Condé Nast
Miuccia Prada, spring/summer 2004, Photograph © Toby McFarlan Pond

Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations
Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute
10 May -  19 August 2012

Other related blog posts:
V&A Unveils Hollywood Glamour
Dresses for the Golden Globes
Red Carpet: Golden Globes Dresses