Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Preview of Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Spring Exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass, Announced at the Palace Museum in China

Image Captions:  1. Yves Saint Laurent by Tom Ford, 2004 2. From left: Chen Zhang, Silas Chou, Wendi Murdoch, Emily Rafferty, Thomas P. Campbell,      Anna Wintour, Max Baucus, Andrew Bolton and Maxwell K. Hearn 3. Andrew Bolton, Curator, The Costume Institute 4. Artistic Director of China: Through the Looking Glass, renowned filmmaker Wong Kar Wai  All Photos courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Image Captions:
1. Yves Saint Laurent by Tom Ford, 2004
2. From left: Chen Zhang, Silas Chou, Wendi Murdoch, Emily Rafferty, Thomas P. Campbell,
Anna Wintour, Max Baucus, Andrew Bolton and Maxwell K. Hearn
3. Andrew Bolton, Curator, The Costume Institute
4. Artistic Director of China: Through the Looking Glass, renowned filmmaker Wong Kar Wai
All Photos courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Today, The Metropolitan Museum of Art held a press briefing at the Palace Museum in Beijing, China, about its spring 2015 Costume Institute exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass. The exhibition, on view at the Met from May 7 to August 16, will explore how Chinese art and film have influenced Western fashion design for centuries.  Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum; Shan Jixiang, Director of the Palace Museum; Max Baucus, U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China; Andrew Bolton, Curator in The Costume Institute; Maxwell K. Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman, Department of Asian Art; Anna Wintour, Artistic Director of Condé Nast and Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue; and renowned filmmaker Wong Kar Wai, Artistic Director of the exhibition, all attended the press briefing.   

Director Shan welcomed guests to the Palace of Established Happiness (Jianfu Palace) in the Forbidden City, Ambassador Baucus delivered remarks, and Mr. Campbell highlighted the importance of cultural and artistic exchange between China and the Met.  Andrew Bolton discussed how the exhibition will juxtapose Chinese art and historic costumes with high fashion to demonstrate the West’s fascination with Chinese imagery.  Wong Kar Wai discussed the role of film in the exhibition and showed a montage of the film clips that will be used in the exhibition to illuminate the impact of the cinematic arts on Western fashion. 

Roberto Cavalli (Italian, born 1940). Evening dress, fall/winter 2005–6. Photograph © Platon

Roberto Cavalli (Italian, born 1940). Evening dress, fall/winter 2005–6. Photograph © Platon

During the press briefing, a display in the Jianfu Palace featured images and objects to be included in the Met exhibition: an Yves Saint Laurent gown (by Tom Ford, 2004) inspired by the dragon robe worn by Puyi (1906-1967), the last Chinese emperor, for his inauguration in 1908; and a blue-and-white Chanel beaded gown (by Karl Lagerfeld, 1984) and a Roberto Cavalli gown (2005) whose patterns reflect those on Chinese export porcelains.  This interchange between art and fashion complements the Palace Museum’s mission to highlight the essence of Chinese art and culture formed over thousands of years, as well as The Costume Institute’s commitment to exploring the connection between art and fashion. The Costume Institute became part of the Met in 1946, and subsequently built a world-class collection including more than 35,000 garments from five continents, with some dating back to the 15th century.

China: Through the Looking Glass will be on view in the Met’s Chinese Galleries and in the Anna Wintour Costume Center.  It will feature more than 130 haute couture and ready-to-wear fashions juxtaposed with traditional Chinese masterpieces in jade, lacquer, cloisonné, and blue-and-white porcelain. Chinese imagery will be used throughout the exhibition, presenting a series of “mirrored reflections” that focus on the evolution of art, fashion, and culture from Imperial China through to the present-day People’s Republic of China.     

Remarks 
“It is an honor for the Met to host a press presentation at the Palace Museum for many reasons, chief among them our long, collaborative relationship with our Chinese colleagues,” said Mr. Campbell.  “We are particularly delighted to share early details about The Costume Institute’s spring exhibition focusing on the history of Chinese imagery in art, film, and fashion.  We hope that many Chinese visitors will come experience the exhibition in our galleries this spring alongside fellow art lovers from around the globe.”

Mr. Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum of China, said: “The close cooperation between the Palace Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in developing this exhibition has enhanced mutual understanding, formed new friendships and led to brilliant new and exciting ideas. We believe that in the near future, we can look forward to more collaboration opportunities and learn from each other by sharing our expertise and experiences in exhibition design and curating.” 

Andrew Bolton, curator of the exhibition, noted:  “From the earliest period of European contact with China in the 16th century, the West has been enchanted with enigmatic objects and imagery from China, providing inspiration for fashion designers from Paul Poiret to Yves Saint Laurent.  Through the looking glass of fashion, designers conjoin disparate stylistic references into a pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions.”

Maxwell K. Hearn added, “China has long been an intriguing source of inspiration for Western artists. As the Met’s Asian Art Department embarks on its 100th year, our permanent collection continues to celebrate the genius of China’s ancient traditions.  This collaboration between two curatorial departments will demonstrate how Western designers have responded creatively to those traditions in ways that are both provocative and insightful.”

“William Chang and I are pleased to be working in collaboration with The Costume Institute and the Asian Art Department of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on this exciting cross-cultural show,” commented Wong Kar Wai. “Historically, there have been many cases of being ‘lost in translation’–with good and revealing results. As Chinese filmmakers, we hope to create a show that is an Empire of Signs–filled with meaning for both East and West to discover and decipher.”

Exhibition Overview
This is The Costume Institute’s first collaboration with another curatorial department since AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion in 2006, a partnership with the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. China: Through the Looking Glass will feature more than 100 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear alongside masterpieces of Chinese art.  Filmic representations of China will be incorporated throughout to reveal how our visions of China are shaped by narratives that draw upon popular culture, and to recognize the importance of cinema as a medium through which we understand the richness of Chinese history.

The Anna Wintour Costume Center’s Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery will present a series of “mirrored reflections” through time and space, focusing on Imperial China; the Republic of China, especially Shanghai in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s; and the People’s Republic of China, with an emphasis on changing images of Chairman Mao.  These reflections, as well as others in the exhibition, will be illustrated with scenes from films by such groundbreaking Chinese directors as Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Ang Lee, and Wong Kar Wai.  Distinct vignettes will be devoted to “women of style,” including Oei Huilan (the former Madame Wellington Koo), Soong May-Ling (Madame Chiang Kai-shek), and Empress Dowager Cixi.

Directly above the Anna Wintour Costume Center, the Chinese Galleries on the second floor will showcase fashion from the 1700s to the present, juxtaposed with decorative arts from Imperial China, including jade, lacquer, cloisonné, and blue-and-white porcelain, mostly drawn from the Met’s collection.  The Astor Court will feature a thematic vignette dedicated to Chinese opera, focusing on the celebrated performer Mei Lanfang, who inspired John Galliano’s spring 2003 Christian Dior Haute Couture Collection, ensembles from which will be showcased alongside Mr. Mei’s original opera costumes.

Designers in the exhibition will include Giorgio Armani, Vitaldi Babani, Cristobal Balenciaga, Sarah Burton (Alexander McQueen), Callot Soeurs, Roberto Cavalli, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana (Dolce & Gabbana), Peter Dundas (Emilio Pucci), Tom Ford (Yves Saint Laurent), John Galliano (Dior), Jean Paul Gaultier, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Picciolo (Valentino), Craig Green, Madame Grès, Ground-Zero, Guo Pei, Adrian Hailwood, Marc Jacobs (Louis Vuitton), Charles James, Charles Jourdan, Mary Katrantzou, Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel), Jeanne Lanvin, Ralph Lauren, Judith Leiber, Ma Ke, Mainbocher, Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen (Givenchy), Missoni, Edward Molyneux, Kate and Laura Mulleavy (Rodarte), Dries van Noten, Jean Patou, Paul Poiret, Oscar de la Renta (Balmain), Ralph Rucci, Paul Smith, Anna Sui, Vivienne Tam, Isabel Toledo, Giambattista Valli, Vivienne Westwood, Jason Wu, Laurence Xu, and others.

In celebration of the exhibition opening, the Museum’s Costume Institute Benefit will take place on Monday, May 4, 2015.  Silas Chou will serve as Honorary Chair.  The evening’s co-chairs will be Jennifer Lawrence, Gong Li, Marissa Mayer, Wendi Murdoch, and Anna Wintour.  This event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements.  

A special feature on the Museum’s website, www.metmuseum.org/ChinaLookingGlass, provides information about the exhibition. Sina microblog: @大都会博物馆MET_中国艺术. Follow us on Facebook.com/metmuseumInstagram.com/metmuseum, and Twitter.com/metmuseum to join the conversation about the exhibition and gala benefit.  Use #ChinaLookingGlass and #MetGala on Instagram and Twitter.

The exhibition is made possible by Yahoo.
Additional support is provided by Condé Nast and several generous Chinese donors.

Related articles:
Costume Institute’s Spring 2015 Exhibition at Metropolitan Museum to Focus on Chinese Imagery in Art, Film, and Fashion, May 7–August 16, 2015
Metropolitan Museum Extends Hours for Last Four Days of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Photos:Alexander McQueen:Savage Beauty Extends at Met through 8/7, Met Mondays w/ McQueen begin 6/6

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Signature Theatre Company’s Founding Artistic Director James Houghton To Step Down After 2015-16 25th Anniversary Season
Photos: David Byrne, Alex Timbers, Jaygee Macapugay, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Adam Guettel, Sarah Saltzberg and More Celebrate Jose Llana’s Lincoln Center American Songbook Debut
Photos: In Rehearsal with Jose Llana; Set for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Debut
Stephen Adly Guirgis’s BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY Starring Stephen McKinley Henderson, Victor Almanzar, Elizabeth Canavan, Rosal Colón, Liza Colón-Zayas, Michael Rispoli and Ron Cephas Jones, has performances through March 22 at Second Stage Theatre
Photos: “Swimming Awkward Moment,” the newest works by painter Arlan Huang at Trestle Gallery through March 27
Photos: Michael Mayer Helmed BROOKLYNITE Featuring Ann Harada, Matt Doyle, Nicolette Robinson, Andrew Call, Nick Cordero and More, Extends through March 29
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s AN OCTOROON, Starring Maechi Aharanwa, Pascale Armand, Danielle Davenport, Amber Gray, Ian Lassiter, Austin Smith, Haynes Thigpen, and Mary Wiseman, Extends Again Off-Broadway Through March 29
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents Rajiv Joseph’s THE LAKE EFFECT Starring Adam Poss, Nilanjana Bose, Jason Bowen through March 29
Photos: Wendell Pierce, Kevin Mambo, Toccarra Cash, Thaddeus Daniels, Wendell Franklin and Megan Robinson Set for The Billie Holiday Theatre Production of Jackie Alexander’s Brothers from the Bottom through March 29 
Save on Preview Tickets to Lincoln Center’s Revival of THE KING AND I Starring Kelli O’Hara, Ken Watanabe, Ruthie Ann Miles, Ashley Park, Conrad Ricamora, Paul Nakauchi and More
Mar. 8- 29: Pursuit of the Perfect Plate: tokyo fish story Premieres at South Coast Repertory starring Lawrence Kao, Jully Lee, Eddie Mui, Sab Shimono and Ryun Yu
OBIE Award-winner Jojo Gonzalez, Jessica Almasy, Marcia DeBonis, Brad Heberlee, Sakina Jaffrey, Erik Lochtefeld and Babak Tafti Set for Ars Nova’s World Premiere of SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS, March 10 – April 11; OBIE Winner Rachel Chavkin to Direct
Dallas Summer Musicals to Stage THE KING AND I Starring Rachel York, Alan Ariano, YoonJeong Seong, Tami Swartz and More at the Music Hall at Fair Park, 3/20-4/5
Broadway Bound Doctor Zhivago Featuring Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, Paul Nolan, Lora Lee Gayer, Melody Butiu and More Kicks Off Rehearsal; Previews Begin March 27
CAAMFest 2015 Honors Filmmaker Arthur Dong with World Premiere Screenings of Forbidden City, USA (3/14), The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor (3/15) & In Conversation with B. Ruby Rich (3/20)
CAAMFest Presents Ursula Liang’s Documentary 9-Man: Northern California Premiere at the Great Star Theatre on March 13; East Bay Premiere at The New Parkway Theater on March 22
Photos: Jeanne Sakata, Jeremy Guskin, Angela Sauer, Andrew Ross Wynn, Elyse Mirto and More Set for A Noise Within’s FIGARO, March 1-May 10 
Stan Egi, Ellen Crawford, Paige Lindsey White, Bruce Turk, Greg Watanabe and More Set for Jessica Kubzansky helmed PYGMALION at The Pasadena Playhouse, March 17- April 12, 2015
Asia Society Presents Wu Tong: Song of the Sheng on March 19
Mar. 24: An Evening with Amy Tan at New-York Historical Society
Broadway Bound Doctor Zhivago Featuring Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, Paul Nolan, Lora Lee Gayer, Melody Butiu and More Kicks Off Rehearsal; Previews Begin March 27
Brandon J. Dirden, Merritt Janson, Roslyn Ruff, Andrew Hovelson, Roger Robinson Set for World Premiere of YOUR BLUES AIN’T SWEET LIKE MINE, written and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson at Two River Theater, April 11-May 3
Tony Award® Nominees Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed to star in Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ, helmed by Amy Morton, at Atlantic Theater Company, May 20-June 28
Tony Award winner Lea Salonga and Telly Leung Set to Co-star with George Takei in ALLEGIANCE; Previews Begin at the Longacre Theatre on October 6
Photos: John W. Kuo, Jessica Hagedorn, and Neal Katyal Receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards
Suzan-Lori Parks’ FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS, PARTS 1, 2 & 3 is the 2015 Winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History 
Photos: Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jennifer Lim, Jo Mei, James Saito, Sue Jin Song, Harriet Harris and More at Opening Night of The World of Extreme Happiness
Video: Viola Davis, Charles Dutton, Laurence Fishburne, James Earl Jones, Suzan-Lori Parks, Phylicia Rashad and More Share Stories in American Masters-August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand Documentary
Photos: National Black Theatre Festival 2013; NBTF runs August 3-8, 2015 and will include Act III – A Celebration of Life Reception saluting the late theatre icon Garland Lee Thompson, Sr.
THE GET DOWN, Baz Luhrmann’s New Drama Series Set in 1970s NYC That Gave Birth to Hip-Hop, Punk and Disco, to Premiere on Netflix in 2016
Variety.com: Ken Jeong to Star in ABC Medical Comedy Pilot ‘Dr. Ken’
Photos: Hudson Yang, Randall Park, Eddie Huang, Richard Lui, Lori Tan Chinn and More at #FreshOffTheBoat Viewing Party at The Circle NYC
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Advantageous, Oh Lucy!, Meru, Umrika, The Chinese Mayor, The Stanford Prison Experiment Among 2015 Sundance Film Festival Award Winners
Photos: Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang, NEFA, Graham Sheffield CBE and Susan Stockton Receive 2015 ISPA Awards Photos:
Late Night at HERE LIES LOVE with Jaygee Macapugay, David Byrne, Jose Llana, Conrad Ricamora, Melody Butiu and More
THE WIZ Turns 40- Photos from Original Broadway Production and BC/EFA Gypsy of The Year Celebration Featuring André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Christina Sajous, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White and More
Photos: Ellen Burstyn, Baz Luhrmann, John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Stephen McKinley Henderson, John Patrick Shanley, David Henry Hwang, Liza Colón-Zayas, Kenneth Lonergan and More Celebrate Stephen Adly Guirgis at The Mimi Awards
Crafting a Career
Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s