Met’s ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ Breaks Attendance Records in NYC

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John Galliano for House of Dior, autumn/winter 1997–98 Courtesy of Christian Dior Couture
John Galliano for House of Dior, autumn/winter 1997–98 Courtesy of Christian Dior Couture
Evening dress, Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent, Paris, autumn/winter 2004–5; Courtesy of Yves Saint Laurent, Paris

Evening dress, Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent, Paris, autumn/winter 2004–5; Courtesy of Yves Saint Laurent, Paris

The Metropolitan Museum’s “China: Through the Looking Glass” has surpassed the record-breaking “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.” As of August 16th the sprawling China exhibit had more than 670,000 visitors while the McQueen had 661,500 and was the most visited up to this point.China spans 30,000 square feet of MET real estate and is shown in 16 separate rooms—the largest exhibition ever for the museum. It opened on May 7th of this year and will close on Sept 7th, labor day.The show explores the impact of China on fashion and culture and illuminates the viewer on China’s vast impact with fashion taking a front seat. High fashion from Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford and Christian Dior are presented making the seductive nature of Chinoiserie obvious. The looks are juxtaposed with videos, photographs, paintings, porcelains, and other Chinese art to underscore the source of inspiration and make comparisons.

Gallery View, Gallery 132, People’s Republic of China
Gallery View, Gallery 132, People’s Republic of China
         The Met’s Costume Institute curator, Andrew Bolton, has deftly elevated fashion to an art form with his exhibitions like 2013’s “Punk Chaos to Couture” and 2008’s “Superheros”. The Alexander McQueen exhibit, “Savage Beauty” was a pivotal moment for New Yorkers and visitors who stood in line— sometimes at midnight—to get a glimpse of the popular show. The suicide of the designer and Kate Middleton’s (the Duchess of Cambridge) choice of McQueen for her wedding dress, peaked the public’s fascination with the subject. The impact was vast and a defining moment for museum attendees. Fashion exhibits are now  commonplace not only at the MET but at museums all over the world. Jean Paul Gaultier’s exhibition called “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” made the rounds globally and is now in Paris at the Grand Palais. Fashion is an integral part of our lives and it is clear that the public considers it an art form— museums are not the stuffy intellectual institutions they once were, but are vibrant cultural meeting spots that are relevant to our lives.

“China: Through The Looking Glass” can be seen until Labor day Sept. 7th.

 

 

 

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