If you’ve been a tourist in Washington, D.C. and you love fashion, you have probably seen First Ladies’ dresses, a permanent exhibit at the National Museum of American History, which now includes Michelle Obama’s inaugural ball gown by Jason Wu. Even for those who closely follow designer fashion there is not always a chance to see the attention to detail on designer garments in person. A majority of collections cater to runway show buyers and skip the department stores. Sure, you can visit the stores that line Rodeo Drive and try on the pieces you can’t afford while sales associates watch you like a hawk, but some of us don’t even have the gumption to touch a Roberto Cavalli sheer ombre tunic without washing our hands three times in a row.
For three more weeks the Prada and Schiaparelli exhibit will be housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. The exhibit is titled “Impossible Conversations” and they do a superb job of drawing parallels between the two Italian designers, despite the fact the two worked decades apart. About five years after Elsa Schiaparelli’s death, Miuccia Prada commenced the takeover of her father’s business.
Last year the museum picked Alexander McQueen as an ode to his successful but all too brief career. This exhibit is different in that they work to find comparisons and mix the designers in an unexpected but conceivable display, with a casing of Schiaparelli blazers and boleros and Prada skirts in the first room. The showcase also features a video dialogue between the living designer and Schiaparelli, played by Judy Davis, to create a conversation that could have taken place based on quotations from interviews and Prada’s true opinions. While Prada doesn’t consider her pieces products of art, the exhibit is a rare chance to explore contemporary fashion as something more than the dress Jessica Alba wore to a movie premiere. As a highlight, you’ll be wowed by what you remember, such as the canvas rugby striped skirt from 2011, and what you’ve dreamed of, the ethereal dresses from the 1930s.
*Picture from Artnet