The Metropolitan Museum of Art - China: Through the Looking Glass (Part 1)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute holds a special exhibit annually from May to August. This year’s theme China: Through the Looking Glass showcases how Chinese art, culture, and history has inspired haute couture.
Through a series of four blog posts, EXIT Realty Landmark will take you through each gallery of the exhibit, giving you a peak of this annual event. If you happen to be in New York City between now and September 7, you don’t want to miss it. If you don’t have a chance to see it, hopefully you will enjoy reading this blog series.
People’s Republic of China
In the middle of the Egyptian Wing, there is a dimly lit red room. You hear singing before you reach there, bringing out your curiosity. This room is inspired by Mao Zedong. One aspect he promoted in the Cultural Revolution was gender equality which can be seen in the gender-neutral Mao suit. The fashion in this room showcases spin-off versions of the Mao suit which look fashionable and wearable today. There’s also a set of dresses printed with Mao’s iconic face in a pop-art style.
A set of stairs in the Mao Room leads you down to the basement into the Anna Wintour Costume Center where you are greeted with heroic and warlike music. There are two huge walls in the middle of the room with four projectors showing clips from from dramas and movies about the Qing dynasty. On either side of the walls are rows of outfits. One row features robes worn by Chinese emperors from centuries ago. Another row features haute couture pieces inspired by the originals.
Hu Die (Butterfly Wu)
In the back of the lower level, there are mannequins encased in elevated clear boxes. This room show a collection of qipaos, Shanghai-originated dresses worn by Chinese women in the 1900s. To the right are various traditional qipaos and to the left are the haute couture versions. In the back of this room are clips from famous Chinese films across the 20th century, exhibiting the feminine mystique and classic beauty of qipaos. Although qipaos are not as grand as the other outfits in this exhibit, fine details make them just as unique.
Been here already? Share in the comments section what was your favorite part about these galleries!
Part 2 here
Part 3 here
Part 4 here
Photo Credit: www.metmuseum.org