Monday, January 12, 2015

CHINA, Through the Looking Glass, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute (c) By Polly Guerin

Yves Saint Laurent by Tom Ford 2004
The Palace Museum in Beijing, China was the setting recently where the Metropolitan Museum of Art held a press briefing about its spring 2015 Costume Institute exhibition, "China Through the Looking Glass," an exhibition that explores how Chinese art and film have influenced Western fashion design for centuries.
   This show is expected to attract a great Chinese interest in tickets so you may want to book your tickets early. It will open on May 7th,  three days after the Met's Costume Institute benefit. The gala evening is being hosted by Silas Chou, one of the key investors in Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger who has extensive business interest in China, and actors Gong Li and Jennifer Lawrence.. Wintour has organized the Costume Institutes annual gala dinner since 1995 and last year the museum named the Costume Institute after her.
The Celebs in Beijing: Of course, Anna Wintour was there to celebrate the event and the Chanel-clad editor explained that the decision to unveil details in the Chinese capital rather than in New York, stemmed from a desire to acknowledge  the country that had inspired the exhibition. Wintour, the artistic director of Conde Nast and Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue was not alone on the trip. There was a  high-ranking entourage of delegates on the occasion, and what a prestigious mix it was, culled together, no doubt, as a sign to indicate just how important the exhibition is to the museum and quite possibly to the State Department. Dignitaries included Charles P Campbell, director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum; Shan Jixiang, Director of the Palace Museum; Max Baucus, U.S. Ambassador to the People's Republic of China; Andrew Bolton,curator in the Costume Institute. Wong Kar-Wai, Artristic Director of the exhibition also attended the briefing.
Roberto Cavalli gown reflects Chinese export porcelains
Forbidden City Fashion Andrew Bolton discussed how the exhibition will juxtapose Chinese art and historic costumes with high fashion to demonstrate the World's fascination with Chinese imagery. Wong Kar-Wai brought up the role of film in the exhibition and showed a montage of the film clips that will be used in the exhibition to illuminate the impact of the cinematic arts on Western fashion. For instance a Yves Saint Laurent dress by Tom Ford 2004 was inspired by the dragon robe  by Puyi (1906-1967), the last Chinese emperor for his inauguration in 1906; and there is a stunning blue-and-white Chanel beaded grown, by Karl Lagerfeld, 1964 and a show stopper, the Roberto Cavalli gown (2005) whose patterns reflect those on Chinese export porcelains.
China Through the Looking Glass will be on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Institute Center through August 16 and will feature more than 130 haute couture and ready-to-wear fashions juxtaposed with traditional Chinese masterpieces in jade, lacquer, chinoiserie, and blue-and-white porcelains. Andrew Bolton, curator of the exhibition noted: "From the earliest period of European contact with China in the sixteenth century, the West has has been enchanted with enigmatic objects and imagery from China, providing inspiration for fashion designers from Paul Poiret to Yves Saint Laurent. Through the looking glass of fashion, designers conjoin disparate stylistic references into a pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions."
Ta Ta darlings! No, bless your heart, I did not go to China but received this scope  through the fashion grapevine.Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at

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