Met’s Costume Institute to Focus on China for Spring Exhibition

 Photograph by Nick Knight, Nick Knight / Trunk ArchiveJohn Galliano for House of Dior, fall/winter 1997–98.

John Galliano for House of Dior, Fall/Winter 1997–98.


The spring exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute will be “Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film, and Fashion,” the museum announced today. The show will be on view in the Met’s Chinese galleries and at the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Chinese director Wong Kar Wai, whose films include In the Mood for Love and The Grandmaster, will serve as the exhibition’s artistic director.

“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,” Andrew Bolton, the Costume Institute’s curator, said in a statement. “In an intricate process of translation and mistranslation similar to the game of ‘Telephone’–which the British call ‘Chinese Whispers’–designers conjoin disparate stylistic references into a fantastic pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions.”

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