A first look at the MET's 'China: Through the Looking Glass' exhibit
Reflections of the Orient
The new Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute's exhibition and accompanying 256 page tome – China: Through the Looking Glass, delivers a reflection of the Orient's indelible and fantastical footprint on the world's of fashion, film and art.
The exhibition will open May 7 and run through to August 16, whilst the gold stamped catalogue, which includes 300 colour illustrations and essays from influential film makers and artists, as well as a question and answer from curator Andrew Bolton with John Galliano about how China has influenced the designer's work, will be in store from early May, with 500 special numbered editions being sold on site at the museum.
Andrew Bolton asserts that this is not a predicable lift of Chinese culture sifting into the West, with well trodden cultural or even political references: "China: Through the Looking Glass, is not about China per se, but about a China that exists as a collective fantasy. It is about cultural interaction, the circuits of exchange through which certain images and objects have migrated across geographic boundaries."
The catalogue will feature a scent strip of 'Nuit de Chine,' a 1913 fragrance created by Maurice Schaller for designer Paul Poiret. The original formula for Nuit de Chine has been preserved by the Osmotheque in Versailles in Paris, which the Met Museum connected with to re-create the scent as a tie-in to the upcoming exhibition.
The exhibition will display fashion inspired by the orient, such the Christian Dior 'Quiproquo' dress. As well as a strong cinema pillar, including references to Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American movie star. Wong made feature films in the 1920's and 1930's and Galliano notes that she was a source of inspiration to him, during his question and answer that appears in the catalogue.