Although Prada and Schiaparelli never met, Costume Institute Curator Harold Koda perceives ‘significant resonances’ between their work. The exhibition will take shape around an imagined conversation between the Italian designers, spanning art, politics and creativity.
‘We thought, “If we can play with that idea of what Schiap would say, with her real words, and what Miuccia would say, in her real words, on a variety of issues, we could end up with something that was a mind-teaser for the audience, and would allow people to see Schiap with increased relevance and Miuccia with a different kind of understanding than they perhaps already have.” We want it to be serious in content but playful in its approach,’ Koda said.
The display will feature nearly 80 Schiaparelli designs dating from the 1920s through the early ‘50s, with Prada designs from the late ‘80s to the current season. Carey Mulligan, Prada and Anna Wintour will serve as co-chairs for the annual Met Ball on 7 May, with Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann acting as creative consultant.
‘The thing about Prada is she always seems a heartbeat ahead of taste, but by transgressing, she moves contemporary society into a new aesthetic,’ Koda added. ‘Schiaparelli did the same thing, but in the same way as anyone who breaks ground and becomes accepted, it suddenly then seems normative. I think people will leave with a sense of how provocative both women have been and really are.’