Just before Memorial Day, I treated myself to a solo field trip to The Met to see the new China: Through the Looking Glass exhibit at The Costume Institute. I needed some inspiration and the exhibit could not have been more perfect for me and my interests. The New York Times describes it as "Designed to illustrate the Chinese influence on Western fashion, the show is spread over three floors. It fills both the basement-level Anna Wintour Costume Center and the Chinese galleries on the second floor, and claims a repurposed Egyptian space in between."
The Huffington Post writes, "haute couture pieces -- such as a super slinky sequined red column with a thigh-high slit and circular motifs (photo above) designed by Tom Ford for YSL -- stand alongside matching 18th-century Chinese Imperial robes."
The exhibit presented the fashions of modern day designers like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Roberto Cavalli and John Paul Gaultier next to the inspired traditional pieces from China's history.
Designed by Chanel.
By Roberto Cavalli. Inspired by blue and white porcelein.
The exhibit also features film clips of Chinese women wearing the traditional qipao. This is a movie still from the movie "Lust, Caution".
"Gaultier-clad mannequins duking it out in a "House of Flying Daggers" bamboo forest." writes The Huffington Post.
Fashionista.com writes, "it's impossible to deny — and impressive to imagine — how truly vast the influence of Chinese culture is on Western fashion. While designers use Asian art and film as inspiration season after season — there are items from as recently as 2013 included in the exhibit — I'd never realized its true scope until I saw it all in one place. From politics to perfume to traditional pottery, Chinese history has touched Western design for centuries."
On the second floor Asian art wing, pieces of the new exhibit were displayed together with the permanent Chinese art collection. I spent a lot of time at The Met when I lived in NYC taking drawing classes and bringing my children to various exhibits. While I've been to the Chinese art exhibit many times, seeing "China: Through the Looking Glass" brought new life to the permanent collection.
Sarah Jessica Parker at this year's Met Gala wearing a fire like headpiece and dramatic embroidered cape for the opening of the "China: Through the Looking Glass" exhibit.
If you're in NYC this summer, I highly recommend a trip to The Met to see the exhibit! Open through August 16.
Images from The Met taken from my iphone. Image of Sarah Jessica Parker from www.hollywoodreporter.com.