Last weekend, we went to see the China: Through The Looking Glass exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum. This particular exhibit, which was kicked off with the big Met Gala in early May, is a collaboration between the museum’s Costume Institute and Department of Asian Studies. You may have seen the infamous yellow dress that Rihanna wore to the event that had everyone talking for days. And who can forget what Lady Gaga wore to the event?
The exhibit itself is breathtaking. By the entrance, there were illuminated bamboo-like fixtures that seem to shield Chinese warriors. Movie stills were interspersed throughout the exhibit that show how the Chinese culture has shaped the Western culture for centuries, pretty much from the time Marco Polo found the route to go east.
In this day and age where we think of China as a manufacturer of inexpensive goods, we tend to forget the fact that the country has a long history of artistry in textiles, porcelain and screens. In the exhibit, we are reminded of the decadence and beauty in Chinese design and how these aesthetic sensibilities have inspired artists and designers throughout the ages.
Personally, the highlight of the exhibit was to see Chinese designer Guo Pei’s Magnificent Gold dress elegantly showcased. It’s amazing that this one dress pretty much takes one room of the exhibit. Guo Pei, who is relatively unknown here in the US, is the creator of Rihanna’s yellow dress that supposedly took two years to make.
If you’re in the NYC area, do check out the exhibit, which runs through August 17th. The pictures I have here do not do justice to how beautiful these creations are in person.