words by Gabi Logan
For its 2012 Costume Institute Exhibition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City will showcase designs by Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli in “Impossible Conversations”, showing from the 10th of May to the 19th of August 2012.
Organized into seven themed galleries, “Impossible Conversations” focuses on Schiaparelli’s work from the late 1920s to the early 1950s and Prada’s designs from the late 1980s to today. Each gallery examines the designers’ methods for subverting standards of beauty and expectations of their respective eras.
Nearly 90 designs from the Costume Institute, the Prada Archive, and other institutions and collectors make up the exhibition, exploring the two designers’ fashion through three interpretations of chic—ugly, hard, and naïf—and four body images—classical, pagan, exotic, and surreal—as well as Schiaparelli’s hats and Prada’s footwear.
Drawing inspiration from Miguel Covarrubias’ “Impossible Interviews” in the 1930s in Vanity Fair, the exhibition will also feature videos directed by Baz Luhrmann of simulated conversations between Prada and Schiaparelli, focusing on the similar themes each designer explored and the differences in their approaches.
Schiaparelli was highly involved with surrealists, including Dalí and Cocteau, and incorporated their principles into her work, while Postmodernism influences Prada’s designs. “Given the role Surrealism and other art movements play in the designs of both Schiaparelli and Prada, it seems only fitting that their inventive creations be explored here at the Met”, said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Selected highlights from the exhibition are available on the http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/impossible-conversati... “>Met’s website. The curators, Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton, will also publish a 308-page book, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, with more than 200 photos of their designs and the full text of the “impossible conversations” world-wide in early May.