“Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations” at the Metropolitan Museum in New York is not Savage Beauty, last year’s Met Costume Institute blockbuster exhibit showcasing the work of Alexander McQueen but I’m sure that the name recognition of Prada and last night’s star-filled gala will bring in large numbers of attendees.
Odd traffic patterns throughout and a weird fun-house mirror effect in one gallery all contribute to a very unpleasant viewing experience. It’s as if the space for the exhibit is too small and mirrors were used to create a sense of a larger space, it doesn’t.
Large screens that show the two designers in conversation (Miuccia Prada is alive and portrays herself while Elsa Schiaparelli died in 1973 and is played by actress Judy Davis) contribute to the surreal atmosphere. Prada and Schiaparelli talk at each other across a long table while sipping something expensive but it’s not really a conversation and you need to read the captions to follow along.
The long wall of Prada shoes and Schiaparelli’s hats is beautiful to behold and throughout the exhibit the pairings of each designers clothing is done well. Every exquisite detail of the pieces is wonderfully lit revealing color, sparkle and texture of the designs. There are also large portraits of Schiaparelli’s pieces - these GIF technology images blink their eyes which is fun and unexpected.
The show opens on Thursday May 10th and runs through August 19, 2012.