Friday, May 4, 2012

Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations

Next week the Costume Institute at the MET will open it's doors to Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations. An intriguing exhibition that looks into the the similarities of the iconic Italian designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada. Inspired by Miguel Covarrubia's "Inspired Interviews" from 1930's Vanity Fair, the exhibit is broken down into seven thematic galleries, comparing similar themes found throughout the two designer's careers. Running from May 10th to August 19th, and preceded by the annual MET Gala on Monday night, this is an absolute must visit this summer!

Waist up/Waist Down Will be a look at Schiaparelli's use of decorative detailing as a response to restaurant dressing in the heyday of 1930's café society, while showing Prada's below the waist focus as a symbolic expression of modernity and femininity. An accessories subsection of this gallery called Neck Up/Knees Down will showcase Schiaparelli's hats and Prada's footwear. 

Wallis Simpson in Schiaparelli, Vogue, June 1 1937/ Prada Spring/Summer 2011

Ugly Chic will reveal how both women subvert ideals of beauty an glamour by playing with good and bad taste through color, prints and textiles. 
Schiaparelli, Vogue Paris, 1927/ Prada Fall/Winter 1996-97

Hard Chic will explore the influence of uniforms and menswear to promote a minimal aesthetic that is intended to both deny and enhance femininity.

Schiaparelli, Vogue, September 1938/ Prada Autumn/ Winter 2004-5

Naif Chic will focus on Schiaparelli and Prada's adoption of girlish sensibility to subvert expectations of age appropriate dressing

Schiaparelli, Vogue June 1949/ Prada Spring/Summer 2006

The Classical Body also incorporates "The Pagan Body," and explores the designers' engagement with antiquity through the gaze of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. 
Elsa Schiaparelli in Schiaparelli Autumn 1931/ Autumn/Winter 2004-5 

The Exotic Body will explore the influence of Eastern cultures through fabrics such as lamé and silhouettes such as saris and sarongs.

Schiaparelli, Vogue, June 1935/ Prada Spring/Summer 2004

The Surreal Body is the final gallery and will illustrate how both women affect contemporary image of the female body through Surrealistic practices such as displacement, playing with scale, and blurring the boundaries between reality and illusion as well as the natural and the artificial. 

Schiaparelli, Harper's Bazaar, February 1935/ Prada Autumn/Winter 2002-3
*Images Courtesy of