As I promised in my last post, here are my thoughts about the Met's new exhibit. My friend N and I spontaneously took a trip down to the museum after class to see this exhibit, and it was breathtaking.
Even though all the separated rooms and hallways were a little crowded and hard to navigate through, I love how the museum took us through every facet of Chinese culture that inspired Western fashion, featuring designers like Chanel, Dior, Ralph Lauren, and many more. It was lovely to see the actual artifacts that the ideas sprouted from, which I thought gave the spectators more detail to bridge together the connections.
The calligraphy room was one of my favorite sections because of the original pieces. It's fascinating to see how each designer chose a certain style and font of calligraphy to emulate in their dresses. Both Dior and Chanel were inspired by the foreign appeal and beautiful look of the characters, so they created dresses patterned with actual calligraphy. Quite ironically though, I read in the museum that Dior's dress was actually a manuscript in which the author was complaining about a stomachache.
+ + (Excuse the blur on this image. Was in a rush to get the photo before more people walked by)
Here are Yves Saint Laurent's sketches of the opium perfumes collection. There is an interesting similarity found in the allure of a high-end luxury items like these perfumes and the addiction to opium that was a huge issue in China.
The porcelain room was also a delight because of all the stunning pieces. Some of the gowns even had actual smashed porcelain objects carefully placed to create a bodice or top.
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This is an absolutely beautiful and delicate Valentino design which reflected themes of popular Chinese movies and of course the lucky color red. In this room, there were actually several gowns and outfits that Valentino designed, but this was definitely my favorite one out of them.
In another room, the exhibit highlighted chinoiserie, a popular movement that involved mimicking Chinese elements to bring together Western and Eastern influences, which was extremely popular in the eighteenth century. Chanel's elegant take on the classic qi pao balances a nice mix of Chinese themes and colors with typical Western shapes like the A-line style skirt on the left mannequin.
Last but not least, this is Guo Pei's ethereal and divine gown. When I walked into this room, all I could utter was "wow." This was one of the rooms that actually exhibited a Chinese designer that mixed older Eastern elements, especially Buddhist ones like in this dress, into her designs. A feeling of appreciation and awe spread through me when I realized that she was incorporating ideas of purity and enlightenment through emulating a lotus flower both in the bodice and at bottom of the dress with petal like features. You cannot fully see the back side of the gown in this image, but the train also tapers elegantly like how one would imagine a flower to feel.
This exhibit was not only fun and astonishing, but also very informative. I cannot wait to have more adventure and explore more of New York.
(+) = All photos taken by me