Before visiting the Met, I casually browsed its website to see if there is anything that interests me. I found about the Schiaparelli and Prada exhibition, however it didn’t seem that curious to me since I'm not really into the history of fashion, nor I know much about it. I know Prada through her labels “Prada” and “Miu Miu,” however, I’ve never heard of Schiaparelli. I still decided to take a look at the show recalling last year’s most-talked about Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. I was impressed by the ingenious works by McQueen, as well as the theatrical presentation of the exhibition design and the exhibition itself organized by the curators of the Costumes Institute.
|Schiaparelli and Prada Exhibition at the Met.|
Because I only had a basic knowledge on Prada and absolutely nothing on Schiaparelli, I wasn’t sure what to expect in this show. I could do nothing but to accept the curators’ opinion on their discussion of the similarities of the two designers, as works by Prada and Schiaparelli were displayed side by side. I could not understand some of the works as they were extraordinary.
|Elsa Schiaparelli with Salvador Dali.|
When I was writing my last blog entry (also on Schiaparelli and Prada), it required me to do some degree of research since I didn't know much about the two designers. Through my research, I learned that Schiaparelli was friends with Salvador Dali, and the two collaborated on numerous clothing and accessory designs. The Lobster Dress on view at the Met is one example. When I first saw the dress, I thought to myself, “who would want to wear a dress with a giant lobster painted in front of her dress?” I still ask the same question, but now I know that it had a meaning of evoking Surrealism, as Surrealism hit its golden age in the 1930s (the Lobster Dress was made in 1937).
|Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, in Schiaparelli's Lobster Dress, 1937.|
If I have had some of information on the two designers and their works, it would've been easier for me to digest the materials. I probably would've paid more attention, and the pieces would've been more remarkable. Therefore, in my opinion, if you're going to see an exhibition, it's better to have a brief background of the artist and the artifacts before you go. Some might say, the whole point of going to the museum is to discover new things. However, I guarantee you will learn more and you will enjoy the exhibition more than you expect, when you have a basic knowledge of the artist.