This morning I saw the Met’s new Exhibit, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations. When I first heard about it I must admit I didn’t get it. I have never thought of the 2 in the same realm. On many levels. And from what I’ve read neither does Muiccia Prada, but I think she protests a little much when any mention of influencing arises!
The show was wonderful in the way it juxtaposed the two very different designers. Schiaparelli was a ground breaking explorer artist with her wit, humor and collaborations and Prada does not consider herself an artist or fashion an art according to the notes in the exhibit. The way the show was curated really heightened the similarities between the work. Both thematically and through the use of embellishments. What really stood out for me and I could tell a lot of other people agreed, is the fact that almost every piece single of Schiaparelli in the exhibit could be worn today. ( I am very curious what the re-launch of Schiaparelli’s Label will look like.)
The Met again used headpieces by Guido Pilau, but where they worked wonderfully in the McQueen exhibit, they did not work here. I guess they are the newest & most expedient way to take care of the blank mannequins heads, like those curled paper “wigs” that went on forever. I expect we will be seeing variations on these stretch hoods for the next 15 years!
My favorite piece in the whole exhibit was the wood grain printed gown and jacket from her 1938 Pagan Collection, which is where many of famous flora and fauna buttons and jewelery also came from. I also loved Prada’s shoes vs Schiap’s hats but I really missed some of Schiaparelli’s other accessories – the Gloves!
Over all a wonderful exhibit and I plan on going back. Hopefully during a quieter time when I can actually sit thru the “Impossible Conversation” between Judy Davis (as Schiap) and Muiccia Prada. I love Judy Davis and Baz Luhrmann – and Muiccia’s no slouch either!
Schiaparelli’s sketch of the wood grain gown-1938