We share first impressions of the Impossible Conversations exhibit and ask: Are you a Prada or a Schiap?
Last night on livestream, when one Met Gala-goer after another swore they were only really wearing that $50,000 look to the Oscars of fashion so they could sneak-peek “Impossible Conversations,” I almost believed them. The Metropolitan Museum’s daring pairing of a designer exhibit is that good: Schiaparelli, meet Prada; Prada, meet Schiaparelli. Hello, two most seminal fashion designers who also happen to be badass women. Themes of beauty, vulgarity, femininity, labour and play are explored deftly, with sometimes-ingenious curation and a script that tells you just enough to make you want to go to the library. The similarities between the two designers, whose work was separated by a half-century, are remarkable. Their differences are fascinating.
Baz Luhrmann‘s film, which pairs a real live Miuccia with a startling facsimile of Schiap, played by Judy Davis, plays those imagined “conversations” in segments throughout. The looped aphorisms bring to mind another iconoclastic fashion ghost, Diana Vreeland, whom you might call the Phantom of the Met (it was she who introduced such exhibits to the Costume Institute, and curated them for 12 years). I imagine that Vreeland, with her contradictory ideas of chic, could have mediated their disputes about whether fashion is art, for example. The rest of us will have to pick sides.
And so, welcome to Impossible Choices, in which you decide whether you’re Team Prada or Team Schiaparelli. Everybody wins! Bonus: the answers reveal secrets about the exhibit, which runs at the Met from May 10 to August 19.
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