From Chanel to Valentino, a First Look at the Dresses in the ..." /> Metropolitan Museum of Art Presents “China: Through the Looking Glass” - Sunny Jansen


Published on May 1st, 2015 | by sunny

Metropolitan Museum of Art Presents “China: Through the Looking Glass”

From Chanel to Valentino, a First Look at the Dresses in the Met’s Exhibiton.

A spectacular exhibition curated and organized by Andrew Bolton and opening this month of May at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with production design by Nathan Crowley. Designers often view China through the lens of cinema; that’s one of the main propositions of China: Through the Looking Glass. Hollywood movies of the 1930s and 1940s—especially those featuring Anna May Wong—have been a particular source of inspiration.

Roberto Cavalli Fall Winter 2005

04 Evening Dress Roberto Cavalli Fall 2005

JOHN GALLIANO: I was fascinated with the culture. In retrospect, I think it was because I knew very little about it. Before I visited China, it was the fantasy that drew me to it, the sense of danger and mystery conveyed through Hollywood. Much later, I learned more about the real China through research—paintings, literature, architecture. My design process involves in-depth research, and I make a scrapbook for every collection with images that show my current thinking. But, yes, my initial interest in China was fueled by movies, by their fantasized and romanticized portrayals.

Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring 2009


Western eyes have drawn inspiration from “exotic” Asian images since the seventeenth century. With the opening of “China: Through the Looking Glass” at the Met, fashion historians—and filmmaker Wong Kar Wai, the exhibition’s artistic director—turn the mirror around.

 Chanel Haute Couture’s autumn 1996


China’s influence on Western fashion can be traced all the way back to the silk trade between Asia and the Roman Empire, though the earliest European garment on view here—a bodice with pagodas woven into its pink silk brocade—dates from the eighteenth-century French craze for chinoiserie, something Karl Lagerfeld once passionately collected. “What I most loved were antique Chinese vases ‘mounted’ in France,” the designer says—glorious cultural hybrids, like many of his designs for Chanel. On display at the Met is his slinky, side-slit silk-organza evening ensemble in cinnabar, stitched with golden vistas of aristocrats at leisure in the rocky gardens of a far-off summer palace.


Valentino Autumn 1968


Alexander  Mcqueen Autumn 2006


Yves Saint Laurent by Tom Ford Autumn 2004


This exhibition, organized by The Costume Institute in collaboration with the Department of Asian Art, will explore the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion, and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries. High fashion will be juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, including films, to reveal enchanting reflections of Chinese imagery. The exhibition will feature more than one hundred examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear alongside Chinese art. Filmic representations of China will be incorporated throughout to reveal how our visions of China are framed by narratives that draw upon popular culture, and also to recognize the importance of cinema as a medium through which to understand the richness of Chinese history.

If you happen to be in New York you definitely have to visit this exhibition at the Met! More info and photo’s of these beautiful dresses by Steven Meisel :

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