Since the sixteenth century the west has long been deeply influenced through eastern culture, especially those industries closely related to fashion. In honor of this year's Costume Institute exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we were inspired by the obvious impact China has made on European and American designers since the earliest days of couture and high fashion.
Every year The Met hosts a high-profile fashion exhibit in homage to an esteemed designer complete with an appropriate, whimsical and always artistic theme. In collaboration with the Department of Asian Art, China: Through The Looking Glass will juxtapose more than one hundred pieces of couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear from multiple decades past with Chinese art and film. This exhibit is an honest example of how eastern culture influenced the world's greatest western designers from Yves Saint Laurent to Tom Ford and Alexander McQueen.
Looking back at vintage editorials and photographs of fashion icons over the years only reveals how prominent Chinese aesthetics have been incorporated into western culture. Both Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor were huge fans of qipao gowns while Diana Vreeland favored Asian inspired embroidered capes and wraps in black and red florals. While waxing nostalgic over fashion's past, we stumbled upon this gorgeous shot of model Mary Jane Russell donning a Mandarin pajama set for a 1953 Vogue editorial (pictured). There's a definite sense of refinement and romance to this particular fashion and we gratefully direct our applause to the east for inspiring such chic silhouettes.
China: Through The Looking Glass will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art May 7 - August 16.