After breaking records with “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” last spring, the Costume Institute will be examining the work of these two Italian designers, from the way they broke with fashion convention and subverted notions of taste and glamour to their affinity for the art world.
Australian film director Baz Luhrmann has been tapped as a creative consultant for the exhibit; he'll also help with the production design for the benefit. Surely not by coincidence, Carey Mulligan, who's starring in Luhrmann's forthcoming remake of The Great Gatsby, will co-chair the Met Gala on May 7 with Miuccia Prada and Anna Wintour.
The exhibit will feature about 80 designs, a combination of pieces by Schiaparelli from the late twenties to the early fifties and by Prada from the late eighties through today. The main reason for choosing the Schiaparelli theme now is that the Costume Institute obtained a large portion of the designer's archive from the Brooklyn Museum in 2009. As for the connection to Prada:
“Once we got Schiaparelli as the core part of what we wanted to do, it became a logical jump to Miuccia,” Koda said. “They are both Italian women, and even though Miuccia might not describe herself as a feminist, what we see is these two very strong women with a very strong aesthetic.”
While Schiaparelli’s work can’t reference Prada’s — she died in 1973 — and Prada’s work never references Schiaparelli’s, there are “significant resonances” between their designs, according to Koda. “They are both very provocative for their time,” Koda said. “We thought it would be very interesting to pit these two women together in an anachronistic conversation.”
The show will be structured as an imaginary conversation between the two designers; different sections will juxtapose their opinions on various topical themes, including "On Art," "On Politics," "On Women," and "On Creativity."
In other news, this year's underwriter for the exhibit is Amazon, so you can bet there will be lots of fancy Kindle downloads for the show as well.