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July 29 2014

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Prada and “Schiap”: The Conversations Begin

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Today in Milan, the fashion set got a glimpse of some of the Schiaparelli and Prada pieces that will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations exhibition, opening May 10. How does one make an impossible conversation between two great designers from different eras possible? Curators Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton dug through Prada’s archive, as well as the Costume Institute’s collection and private collections, and culled 90 designs and 30 accessories by the two Italian female designers to demonstrate the arresting affinities between their work (Elsa Schiaparelli from the late twenties to early fifties, Miuccia Prada from the late eighties to the present). Take note, these are the first female designers to be the centerpiece of the annual exhibition since Coco Chanel in 2005.

The “conversation” plays out in seven themes, starting with “Waist/Waist Down” (which includes a 1937 black and white Schiaparelli number worn by Madonna’s latest film subject, Wallis Simpson, sitting next to a very similar recent look from Prada). It continues with “Ugly Chic,” “Naif Chic,” “The Classical Body,” “The Exotic Body,” and finally, “The Surreal Body.” The galleries featuring iconic ensembles by the designers are paired with videos, directed by Baz Luhrmann, with made-up conversations between the two women (the idea for these “impossible conversations” was inspired by a Vanity Fair series of unimaginable exchanges in the thirties). Here, a few images from the exhibition.

Photos: Courtesy of Teh Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Dept. of Culture