[Image via MetMuseum.org]
I first mentioned the Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations (May 10, 2012 – August 19th, 2012, at The Costume Institute at The Met, NYC) in January, when it possessed a slightly different title (I think this one is much better), and covered The Met Gala/Costume Institute Fundraiser this past week, so opening day, you better believe I had an hour and a half blocked off on my calendar to be at The Met!
[All images of the exhibition via screenshots from the video found at MetMuseum.org]
The entire concept of “Impossible Conversations” is an intriguing one; an informal, interview-style conversation between two women whose paths never physically crossed due to the separation of decades, who share striking similarities, the first of which being that they are both Italian.
I could wax poetic about Italy, identity, and fashion, but perhaps I will save that for another post; let’s just say having two degrees in Italian gives me a bit of an authority on the subject! I digress; the exhibit showed video clips throughout of an elegant dinner featuring a conversation between Schiaparelli (played by actress Judy Davis) and Prada; which laced whit and humor throughout the exhibit, which also can be considered monuments of both designer’s signature styles.
The “Conversations” were broken into categories: “Waist-Up Waist-Down,” “Ugly Chic,” “Hard Chic,””Naif Chic,” “The Classical Body,” “The Exotic Body,” and “The Surreal Body,” which helped to bring out the varieties in each designer’s body of work within itself, as well as the clear comparison and contrast of their aesthetics and techniques.
“The Surreal Body” certainly stole the show; the garments were encased in clear square boxes, juxtaposed with images that certainly made you do a double take; eyes slowly blinked, skirts billowed, and visitors stood and stared!
The headwear for the exhibit, created by Guido Palau was exquisite; some mimicked luchador masks while others mimicked silken metallic hair strands, bobbed at the chin and cemented to the head. In my opinion, an exhibit shouldn’t even exist here, unless Mr. Palau is commissioned for the headgear, as it added such tremendous value to the story.
Why should you see this, if you live in NYC, or are considering to trek here to check it out? Prada and Schiaparelli each have a very distinctive point of view, and beat to their own drum; this is the stuff that fashion legends, and musuem archives, are made of.