The Metropolitan Museum of Art - China: Through the Looking Glass (Part 4)
Through a series of four blog posts, EXIT Realty Landmark will take you through each gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual fashion exhibit, giving you a peak of this grand event. This year’s theme is China: Through the Looking Glass, showcasing how Chinese art, culture, and history inspired haute couture. 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.
This long hallway shows that older Chinese art such as from: the Neolithic time period, the Shang dynasty, the Tang dynasty, and the Han dynasty can inspire fashion designers too. For example, markings on pottery show up as the lace pattern for a dress. There is a gown that looks very similar to actual ancient Chinese imperial court apparel. A platform shoe on display imitates the shape of the shoes from foot bound women, but scaled up to the size of how feet naturally are.
Off-topic: This hallway is especially chilly.
Guo Pei is a top haute couture designer from China. Her designs use Western styles while showcasing Chinese culture through patterns, colors, shapes, etc. Guo Pei aims to combine Eastern and Western fashion together while as European designers might be aiming towards replicating Chinese fashion (see: Manchu Robe from Part 1). The moment you step into this gallery, you will be awed by the huge gold dress in front of you. Gold silk thread is sewed on every inch of dress. The dress shape is crinoline which is common in Western fashion but Guo Pei meant to imitate the shape of a lotus flower. Lotus flower is one of the main symbols in Buddhism, a highly practiced religion in China throughout history.
Wuxia is a genre in Chinese literature about swordsmen very skilled in martial arts, so skilled that they can perform inhuman feats. Regardless of whether or not such people actually existed in history, readers enjoy these crazy adventures. This gallery in the Met will amaze you when you see it. The display is a grand set up consisting of 100+ lightened up glass beams, trapping wuxia warriors within. For the first time in this exhibit, there are men fashion. The outfits on display look quite similar to what the ancient Chinese actually wore, but the fabrics are completely black or completely white, bringing about a mysterious mood.
Even if you are not a fashion lover nor Chinese culture geek, China: Through the Looking Glass will definitely amaze you with creative and majestic pieces of art. There are very fine details that you can’t experience through photographs. The texture of the fabrics, the tiny yet realistic embroideries, the dark lighting, reflective cases, tense music, and classic movies are some things you will miss if you don’t come in person.
Been here already? Share in the comments section what was your favorite part about these galleries!
Part 1 here
Part 2 here
Part 3 here