I finally got to see the Met show “Impossible Conversation With Schiaparelli and Prada”.
I think Schiaparelli is one of the most original designers we have had. Her surrealism, combined with sculpture, texture, and amazing luxurious taste level carries into every piece.
I also really admire Muccia Prada. On a business level, just watch the trajectory of how she revolutionized her family business with a black nylon bag that has the Prada insignia on the outside of the bag. At the time she did this, it was shocking! Her ability to experiment with art and fashion is incredible. She is clearly one of the best of this generation.
Now about the show…
I couldn’t get past the bad the video that greets the viewers as they walk in. It was the strangest thing and I’m not sure how it got produced – it was so cheesy. They decided to act out an impossible dream conversation between Schiaparelli (played by Judy Davis who in her own right is a great actress) and Prada — their accomplishments and their thoughts about being women designers, etc. It was so staged and juvenile. I thought it devalued the work they’d each done. Here’s a clip so you can get a feel for it.
It seemed to me to be a massive Prada ad.
In the past, the Met had shown a Vivienne Westwood exhibit which was memorable. It detailed the generous scope of her work and its impact on fashion as well as her ability to maintain a moderate size business. Most Americans are not familiar with her work and how it has shaped what we wear.
Again, when McQueen died there was a Met retrospective which was also incredible, and it paid homage to his thought process and creation.
This exhibit with Prada felt like it was blurring the line further towards consumerism and self promotion when it could have just been about two incredible designers.
On an interesting note, it was fascinating to see how much Prada was influenced by Schiaparelli throughout her career. It seemed like an obvious connection, but one that I hadn’t noticed until it was so clearly laid out on this piece.
If you are drawn to their work it is definitely worth seeing.