Met Costume Institute “China: Through the Looking Glass”
Jean Paul Gaultier Evening dress, Fall/Winter 2001 Haute Couture, Photography © Platon

The Costume Institute: China: Through the Looking Glass 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
May 7th, 2015 –August 16th, 2015
Exhibition Locations: Chinese Galleries and Anna Wintour Costume Center

The Costume Institute Gala, held on Monday night, April 5, marked the opening of the Costume Institute’s new exhibit. This year’s theme looked to the East, as the exhibit, titled “China: Through the Looking Glass,” focuses on how Western couture has taken cues from Asian designs throughout the years. 

In September, it had already been announced that the 2015 Met Ball would be themed, “Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film, and Fashion.” The exhibit opened on May 7, and will stay open until August 16, 2015. Organized by The Costume Institute in collaboration with the Department of Asian Art, it will explore the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion, and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries. High fashion will be juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, including films, to reveal enchanting reflections of Chinese imagery.

The exhibition features more than one hundred examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear alongside Chinese art. Film representations of China will be incorporated throughout to reveal how our visions of China are framed by narratives that draw upon popular culture, and also to recognize the importance of cinema as a medium through which to understand the richness of Chinese history.

China is fast becoming a powerhouse in the fashion world, not only showing increasing interest in the fashion houses of the West, but also building an impressive coterie of fashion houses and designers on its own soil. The exhibit focuses on how Chinese design influences Western designers like Saint Laurent, Vivienne Westwood, Jason Wu, Giambattista Valli, Anna Sui, Emilio Pucci, Valentino, Vivienne Tam, Ralph Lauren, Dries Van Noten, and Mary Katranzou.

This year’s benefit co-chairs included Jennifer Lawrence, Gong Li, Marissa Mayer, Wendi Murdoch, Vogue’s Anna Wintour, and honorary chair, Silas Chou. A few of the attendees included Blake Lively, Kim Kardashian, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kate Hudson, Reese Witherspoon, Dakota Johnson, Rihanna, Kanye West, Jennifer Lopez, Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen, Christopher Bailey, Sarah Burton, Peter Copping, Cara Delevingne, Karlie Kloss, and Kendall Jenner among many others. In other words, all the important names in fashion, entertainment and more.



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