In the Mood for Love, film still, 2000. Photograph © 2000 Block 2 Pictures Inc.
China: Through the Looking Glass | The Met Museum of Art
This exhibition, organized by The Costume Institute in collaboration with the Department of Asian Art, will explore how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries, resulting in highly creative distortions of cultural realities and mythologies. High fashion will be juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, as well as films, to reveal enchanting reflections of Chinese imagery.
Image courtesy of Stephen Sullivan
From the earliest period of European contact with China in the sixteenth century, the West has been enchanted with enigmatic objects and imagery from the East, providing inspiration for fashion designers from Paul Poiret to Yves Saint Laurent, whose fashions are infused at every turn with romance, nostalgia, and make-believe. Through the looking glass of fashion, designers conjoin disparate stylistic references into a pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions.
John Galliano for Dior, Dress, fall/winter 1997–98. Courtesy of Christian Dior Couture. Photography © Platon
The exhibition will feature more than one hundred examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear alongside Chinese art. Filmic representations of China will be incorporated throughout to reveal how our visions of China are framed by narratives that draw upon popular culture, and also to recognize the importance of cinema as a medium through which to understand the richness of Chinese history.