Missing the Alexander McQueen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition last year was already a hard hit on my fashion well-being. Now The Costume Institute’s curators Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton went ahead and dismantled what was left of my F.W.B. (1) with a little preview of upcoming exhibition ‘Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations’, impossibly unreal to be happening outside of dream world.
Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli are both iconic women of Italian descent – one Milanese, one from Rome – and more importantly, both fashion powerhouses that rattled the definition of fashion throughout their prosperous careers. Understanding the parallels between these two women is another story unless you inspect the examples the curators kindly unveiled.
‘Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations’ explores the affinities between the designers from counter eras using seven themes – Hard Chic, Ugly Chic, Naif Chic, The Classical Body, The Exotic Body and The Surreal Body. Yes that’s right, one of the themes is called Ugly Chic. The similarities between their work was more shocking than I envisioned it to be the first time I saw the pieces side by side (See baroque detail in pair #1 below).
Side B of the exhibition will be called ‘Waist Up/Waist Down‘ tackling, or rather showcasing, the way the two legends played with print, colour and unconventional textiles for whimsical outcomes – one opting for jackets while Miuccia stuck to her skirts. Pairs #3 and #5 portray this side perfectly. And finally, and perhaps the most interestingly weird is Side C of the fashion exhibition package. This will consist of videos directed by Baz Luhrmann simulating fictitious conversations between the two women themselves using biographies for the late Schiaparelli and interviews for Prada.
Now this one envision I cannot so it’s either a long wait for an online video or a manic trip in May that will leave me and my bank account really having impossible conversations. For now, enjoy the newly released pairings below – Schiaparelli taking the left and Miuccia gearing to the right. Opposite directions yet united and unapologetically Prada.
(1) – Fashion well-being