Met Gala Preview…China: Through the Looking Glass

Chinese Export Vase with Roberto Cavalli and McQueen Gowns
Chinese Export Vase with Roberto Cavalli and Alexander McQueen Gowns
Dress by John Galliano for House of Dior Fall 1997
Dress by John Galliano for House of Dior, Fall 1997

One of the most eagerly anticipated red-carpet events of the year will take place on May 4 when New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will hold its annual Costume Institute fundraiser, affectionately called the Met Gala. As the clock ticks down, fashion nobility and A-list celebrities are putting the final touches on their outfits, most of which will reflect the theme of the museum’s Spring 2015 costume exhibit — China: Through the Looking Glass.

While marquee-name designers deliver their Chinese-inspired gowns, and stylists hunt for vintage jade jewelry, we mere mortals who cannot attend the preview ball will have to wait for the exhibition to open on May 7 to peek through the looking glass. The show will explore the impact of Chinese culture on Western fashion, celebrating Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelain, and other artworks — including film.

Chinese Dragon Robes with Yves Saint Laurent gown and Ralph Lauren Tuxedo
Chinese Dragon Robes with Yves Saint Laurent Gown and Ralph Lauren Tuxedo

According to Andrew Bolton of the Costume Institute, “From the earliest period of European contact with China in the 16th century, the West has been enchanted with enigmatic objects and imagery from the East, providing inspiration for fashion designers from Paul Poiret to Yves Saint Laurent, whose fashions are infused at every turn with fantasy, romance, and nostalgia.”

Jade Earrings from Fred Leighton
Earrings from the Fred Leighton Collection. Photo Courtesy of Dorfman Jewelers
Diamond Chandelier Earrings
Diamond Pagoda-Style Earrings. Photo Courtesy of The CultureConcept.com

Fine Jewelry by Chinese Designer Bao Bao Wan
Fine Jewelry by Chinese Designer Bao Bao Wan  
Photo Courtesy of Huffpost.com

A collaboration between the Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art, China: Through the Looking Glass will be held in the museum’s Chinese Galleries and the newly renamed Anna Wintour Costume Center.

We’ll bring you the red-carpet fashion and jewelry highlights shortly after the Met Gala. In the meantime, enjoy this preview of  some of the exhibit’s costumes.

All costume photos are courtesy of MetMuseum.org. The accompanying jewelry shots have been chosen by OBJ.

China: Through the Looking Glass will run from May 7 through August 16, 2015 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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