On May 7, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will present this year's big Costume Institute exhibit—China: Through the Looking Glass, an examination of how China has, as the museum states, "fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries, resulting in highly creative distortions of cultural realities and mythologies. High fashion will be juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, as well as films, to reveal enchanting reflections of Chinese imagery." And, of course, there's the glittering Met Gala to celebrate the show.
Earlier this week, the museum—as well as Vogue editor Anna Wintour, film director Wong Kar Wai (who is the "Exhibition Artistic Director") and fashion mogul Silas Chou—offered a preview of what museum goers can expect of the joint effort between the Costume Institute and the Met's Department of Asian Art. An imperial court robe and a 15th century vase are among the historical touchstones, while gowns by Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent and Roberto Cavalli are the modern day interpretations of Chinese imagery. From WWD:
To illustrate how films affect our image of China and to underline the importance of cinema as a means of understanding the richness of the Asian giant’s history, Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute, on Monday showed video clips of “Raise the Red Lantern,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Farewell My Concubine” and “In the Mood for Love.”
Bolton and his Costume Institute team collaborated with the Department of Asian Art to imagine the upcoming show, which will encompass fashion from the 1700s to today through an assortment of interplays. Styles will be displayed opposite decorative arts from Imperial China in the Chinese Galleries. “Women of Style” vignettes for Oei Huilan, Soong May-ling and Empress Dowager Cixi will be on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center’s Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery. The Astor Court will house costumes worn by Chinese opera star Mei Lanfang, the inspiration for John Galliano’s spring 2003 Christian Dior couture collection. Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, Dries Van Noten, Giambattista Valli, Jason Wu, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Dior and Coco Chanel are among the other designers who will be represented.
The gala—a.k.a. the Costume Institute Benefit—is on May 4, with chairs Wintour; actors Jennifer Lawrence and Gong Li; Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer; and Wendi Murdoch; plus Chou as honorary chair.
China: Through the Looking Glass will run from May 7 through August 16.