Is fashion a real art form? The First Monday in May tackles this question that has always been subjective to a matter of opinion. Director Andrew Rossi takes us on an vivid journey where fashion and art collide at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art also known as the Met. The Met Gala is considered one of the most immense fashion events in the world fusing art and fashion. The First Monday in May transports us on an intimate and profound in depth planning of the 2015 art exhibition “China: Through the Looking Glass” curated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Andrew Bolton and MET Gala co chair, fashion icon and Vogue Editor in Chief, Anna Wintour. The Costume institute houses the largest collection of fashion in the world and each year fashion mavens look forward to the major exhibition showcased on the first Monday in May.
"Fashion can create a dream, create a fantasy, its a kind of theater”- Anna Wintour
Flashing clips of Yves St Laurent's classic 1977 collection, the film begins with the success of the museums Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition (2011) which produced a record breaking crowd making curator Andrew Bolton one who "redefined exhibition making in museums.” Taking to experts for inspiration, Bolton asks fashion designer John Galliano for insight on how he created his famous Chinese inspired pieces for Dior during his reign. Galliano says "it was a fantasized vision of China, a fiction character develops and I kind of start living it, breathing it.”
“I want to integrate traditional chinese culture with modern aesthetics. Eastern and western cultures collide together." -Guo Pei, Chinese Fashon designer
Eight months prior to the opening, Wintour and Bolton meet to go over the storyboard “The Great Wall of China” he calls it. Displaying pictures of inspiration from Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Cavalli and Porcelain dishes. The two then travel to Beijing to promote the exhibition with a press conference and interviews. “We want to show how western fashion designers look to China for inspiration.” says Bolton.
Because the exhibition is a collaboration between the costume institute and department of asian art, Bolton has to be sure "not to use Chinese art as a stage prop” says artistic director Wong Kar Wai.
Throughout the documentary you’ll see Bolton visiting the museums luxurious St. Laurent fashion archive, admiring one of a kind pieces that have never been recreated by the designer. You’ll also catch a glimpse of the stresses to stage the presentation within 8 weeks and practically 2 days to install the full exhibition. Surprisingly Anna Wintour is very hands on, she’s involved in literally everything- from staging to napkin colors, seating, placing tables and even taking us inside her home for a fitting with her daughter.
"The Met for me means a lot, its the only red carpet I do. Each designer brings his own muse.”
Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy artistic designer
Beyonce, Kerry Washinton, Naomi Campbell, Sofia Vergara, Sarah Jessica Parker and a slew of A- list celebs come out to witness what is known as the Met Gala, lining the red carpet for roaring photographers and flashing lights on fashions hottest night out. Rossi captures this intimate night for us with all its fashion glory. "Anna’s gift is bringing culture both high and low to cross fertilize” “its like a giant aquarium on that night” says Baz Luhrmann. "The whole idea with the met gala is not a commercial consideration its a cultural consideration.”
Once walking up the towering stairs into the museum guests are greeted with a huge porcelain vase replica created with 250,000 white and blue roses (My God…) Over 150 costumes and accessories from over 40 designers consume the two venues within the museum housing the exhibition. You hear the gasps of disbelief from Michael Kors whispering “its remarkable” to his date Kate Hudson. Guests are swept into captivation gazing upon mannequins laced in extravagant vintage and modern Chinese garbs by McQueen, Guo Pei, Chanel and Maison Margielo. You’ll get goosebumps watching Jean Paul Gaultier dishing history to Alicia Keys as they explore each piece intensely.
“Its rare to find somone so creative that you change the way you look at the art form, but he did”- Wintour on Bolton
Deemed “The Super Bowl of social fashion events” by Andre Talley, the museum is filled with fashion icons, iconic directors, superstars like Diane Von Furstenburg, Jennifer Lawrence, Katy Perry, George Clooney, Kylie Jenner, Justin Bieber and Spike Lee all jamming to Rihanna’s live performance of BBHMM.
“I dont pretend to be a fashion historian, but I think fashion should be recognized when you see how it touches people and moves people. I mean what more can you ask from art?” Anna Wintour
Closing the film we follow Andrew Bolton at Gala trailing across the exhibition while he admires the costumes and accessories he strategically placed.
With more than 800,000 people attending China: Through the Looking Glass exhibition topping McQueen with $12.5.Million raised for the museum, I would say yes, fashion is an art form....
Explore the magnificent event and get your tickets to The First Monday in May now playing at the Magnolia in Dallas. Click here for ticket info!
Photo Credit: Magnolia Pictures