What happens when two generations of iconic Italian fashion talent sit down and discuss the intersection of fashion, politics, art and beauty? Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli sharing a glass of wine and a few choice bon mots; wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation? The Costume institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art certainly thinks so and their Impossible Conversations exhibit, creates a dialogue between the doyennes of eccentric chic.
Given the idiosyncratic nature of the designers explored in the exhibit, it is fitting that the origin of the exhibit is equally unusual. Inspired in equal parts by Miguel Covarrubias’ “Impossible Interviews” series for Vanity Fair in the 30s and Louis Malle’s classic, My Dinner with Andre – curators Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton sought to create a tête-à-tête between Prada and Schiaparelli, focusing on their connections and differences. Two rebels, two women who infused their work with feminist undertones, two innovators who rose to prominence later in life and came to dominate the stylistic vision of their respective eras.
With a series of films created by director Baz Luhrman, exhibition design by Nathan Crowley and of course a slew of dazzling ensembles guaranteed to inspire, the exhibit offers a wholly unique look at design from the female perspective. Given the scheduled relaunch of the Schiaparelli house and the fresh light the show shines on her exquisitely crafted work, we can’t think of a more timely exploration of fashion finery.
Photos by Betty Sze
Text by Janelle Okwodu