Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate Chinese culture

chinese MOMA

John Galliano for House of Dior F/W 97-98/Nick Knight

The rich fantasy and romanticism of Chinese culture, which has inspired designers like Paul Poiret and Yves Saint Laurent, will be celebrated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute’s upcoming spring 2015 exhibition.

Dubbed as the ‘Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film, and Fashion’, the display will aim to explore how China has fueled the creative imagination of filmmakers, artists and European designers for centuries, resulting in layers of cultural translations, re-translations and mistranslations

Slated to take place from May 7 to August 16, 2015, the exhibition will feature more than 100 haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear pieces by names like Giorgio Armani, Sarah Burton (Alexander McQueen), Roberto Cavalli, Peter Dundas (Emilio Pucci), Tom Ford (Yves Saint Laurent), John Galliano (Dior), Jean Paul Gaultier, and Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Picciolo (Valentino).

Pieces designed by Craig Green, Ground-Zero, Guo Pei, Marc Jacobs (Louis Vuitton), Mary Katrantzou, Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel), Ralph Lauren, Ma Ke, Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen (Givenchy), Kate and Laura Mulleavy (Rodarte), Anna Sui, Vivienne Tam, Isabel Toledo, Dries van Noten, Vivienne Westwood, Jason Wu and Laurence Xu will also be exhibited.

Andrew Bolton, the Curator of the New York City museum, said in a statement “From the earliest period of European contact with China in the 16th 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 fantasy, romance, and nostalgia.”

“In an intricate process of translation and mistranslation similar to the game of ‘Telephone’–which the British call ‘Chinese Whispers’–designers conjoin disparate stylistic references into a fantastic pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions,”he adds.

In addition to the designerwear exhibits, ancient fashions dating back to the 17th century as well as apparels worn by the famous Chinese women known for their impeccable sense of dressing like Madame Wellington Koo, Madame Chiang Kai-shek (Soong May-Ling) and Empress Dowager Cixi will also form a part of the vast display.

Also Chinese opera costumes, belonging to the celebrated performer who had inspired John Galliano’s spring 2003 Christian Dior Haute Couture Collection, Mei Lanfang, will be showcased.

Apart from the clothing exhibits, films by acclaimed filmmaker Wong Kar Wai and decorative art from Imperial China, including jade, lacquer, cloisonné and blue-and-white porcelain items, will also be featured. (PB)

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