Jacqueline de Ribes: The Essence of True Glamour and Style at The Met’s Costume Institute

Style is what makes you different; it’s your own stamp, a message about yourself.” – Countess Jacqueline de Ribes.

The Costume Institute’s Fall 2015 exhibition, Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style, focuses on the internationally renowned style icon Countess Jacqueline de Ribes, whose originality and elegance established her as one of the most celebrated fashion personas of the 20th century.

Jacqueline de Ribes in Christian Dior, 1959 Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Roloff Beny, Roloff Beny Estate

Jacqueline de Ribes in Christian Dior, 1959. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Roloff Beny, Roloff Beny Estate

A close study of de Ribes’s life of creative expression yields illuminating insights into her strategies of style,” said Harold Koda, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, who organized the exhibition. “Her approach to dress as a statement of individuality can be seen as a kind of performance art. When she established her own fashion house, her friend Yves Saint Laurent gave his blessing to the venture as a welcome projection of her elegance.”

The press preview for Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style, was a somber affair. The guest of honor and the exhibition’s subject, Countess Jacqueline de Ribes, was not in attendance for obvious reasons. The Costume Institute released the following statement:

Following the tragic events in Paris, Jacqueline de Ribes has canceled her trip to New York for the opening of Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. She would like to express her gratitude to all her friends at the Met with whom she has collaborated for so many months, and hopes that they will understand her decision.

Comtesse de Ribes also knows how much Americans share the deep sadness felt in France, which confirms the enduring bond between the two countries. She hopes the exhibition will represent the joy associated with the freedom of creation.

Jacqueline de Ribes in her own design, 1983 Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Victor Skrebneski, Skrebneski Photograph © 1983

Jacqueline de Ribes in her own design, 1983
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Victor Skrebneski, Skrebneski
Photograph © 1983

As reported by Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times, the planned dinner on Wednesday, hosted by the House of Dior, in honor of the exhibition was downgraded to a cocktail reception in business dress.

While I was looking forward to seeing the Countess in person (having read so much about her in magazines and newspapers since the early 1980’s), I must also say that, even without her there, the exhibition fully represented her far-reaching talents, self-assuredness and strong belief in her own sense of what works for her and how her public life (and charitable works) changed the world around her. In a time when “style icons” are anointed based on the work of their Svengali-like stylists who tell them what to wear (usually obscenely expensive designer dresses borrowed for the night, including the jewelery AND the shoes), where to wear them (most often than not to red-carpet events) and how to wear them, the Countess is the REAL DEAL. Most everyone else is a pale imitation.

Jacqueline de Ribes, 1955 Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Richard Avedon, ©The Richard Avedon Foundation

Jacqueline de Ribes, 1955, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Richard Avedon,
©The Richard Avedon Foundation

Elegance. It’s an attitude. A frame of mind. An intuition, a refusal, a rigor, a research, a knowledge. The attitude of elegance is also a way of behaving.

Countess Jacqueline de Ribes (born 1929 in Paris to aristocratic parents) is seen by many as the ultimate personification of Parisian elegance. She was, with the American and Italian beauties Gloria Vanderbilt and Marella Agnelli, among the small flock of “Swans” photographed by Richard Avedon and written about by Truman Capote in 1959.

Married at age 19 to the late Édouard, Vicomte de Ribes (he became the Count de Ribes upon the death of his father in 1981), the traditions of her in-laws precluded her from becoming a career woman. However, as an independent spirit, she channeled her creativity into a series of ventures linked by fashion, theater, and style. In 1956, de Ribes was nominated for Eleanor Lambert’s Best-Dressed List. At the time, she had only a handful of couture dresses, as most of her wardrobe was comprised of her own designs, which she made herself or with a dressmaker. Four more nominations followed, and resulted in her induction into the International Best-Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1962.

Jacqueline de Ribes in her own design, 1986 Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Francesco Scavullo, The Francesco Scavullo Foundation and The Estate of Francesco Scavullo

Jacqueline de Ribes in her own design, 1986
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Francesco
Scavullo, The Francesco Scavullo Foundation and The Estate of Francesco
Scavullo

When I was a small child, there were two women I admired. One was a friend of my mother’s who was an ambassadress. The other was Coco Chanel. It seems I always wanted to be a designer.”

Photographed by the world’s leading talents including Slim Aarons, Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Cecil Beaton, Robert Doisneau, Horst, Jean Baptiste Mondino, Irving Penn, Francesco Scavullo, Victor Skrebneski, and Juergen Teller, her image came to define an effortless elegance and a sophisticated glamour, something you cannot say about so many of the women today that defines the term, “modern style icons.” As Carolina Herrera recently remarked in a newspaper interview (and I am paraphrasing here), “How can someone be a style icon when they are not wearing any clothes?” in reference to the trio of music and Hollywood stars who attended the recent Met Ball in “dresses” that left almost nothing to the imagination. And Mrs. Herrera is right. If you want to see what a TRUE style icon is, run, don’t walk, to The Met to see Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style.

You must remember that you’re never going to be sexy for everyone. You are sexy for someone and for someone else you are not. Being totally nude is not sexy. The art of being sexy is to suggest. To let people have fantasy.”

Gallery View, Evening Wear © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gallery View, Evening Wear
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The thematic exhibition features approximately 60 ensembles of haute couture and ready-to-wear primarily from de Ribes’s personal archive, dating from 1962 to the present. Also included are her creations for fancy dress balls, which she often made by cutting up and cannibalizing her haute couture gowns to create unexpected, thematic, and conceptually nuanced expressions of her aesthetic. These, along with photographs, video, and ephemera, tell the story of how her interest in fashion developed over decades, from childhood “dress-up” to the epitome of international style.

A muse to haute couture designers, they placed at her disposal their drapers, cutters, and fitters in acknowledgment of their esteem for her taste and originality. Ultimately, she used this talent and experience to create her own successful design business, which she directed from 1982 to 1995.

Gallery View, Evening Wear © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gallery View, Evening Wear
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art

My mirror, my only truthful advisor.”

While the exhibition explores her taste and style methodology, extensive documentation from her personal archives illustrates the range and depth of her professional life, including her roles as theatrical impresario, television producer, interior designer, and director and organizer of international charity events. Continue reading

Costume Institute’s Fall Exhibition to Focus on Fashion Icon Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style

The Costume Institute’s Fall 2015 exhibition, Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style, will focus on the internationally renowned style icon Countess Jacqueline de Ribes, whose originality and elegance established her as one of the most celebrated fashion personas of the 20th century. The exhibition will be on view in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Anna Wintour Costume Center from November 19, 2015 through February 21, 2016.  

A close study of de Ribes’s life of creative expression yields illuminating insights into her strategies of style,” said Harold Koda, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, who is organizing the exhibition. “Her approach to dress as a statement of individuality can be seen as a kind of performance art. When she established her own fashion house, her friend Yves Saint Laurent gave his blessing to the venture as a welcome projection of her elegance.”

Countess Jacqueline de Ribes (born 1929 in Paris to aristocratic parents) is seen by many as the ultimate personification of Parisian elegance. She was, with the American and Italian beauties Gloria Vanderbilt and Marella Agnelli, among the small flock of “Swans” photographed by Richard Avedon and written about by Truman Capote in 1959. 

Married at age 19 to Édouard, Vicomte de Ribes (he became the Count de Ribes upon the death of his father in 1981), the traditions of her in-laws precluded her from becoming a career woman. An independent spirit, she channeled her creativity into a series of ventures linked by fashion, theater, and style. In 1956, de Ribes was nominated for Eleanor Lambert’s Best-Dressed List. At the time, she had only a handful of couture dresses, as most of her wardrobe was comprised of her own designs, which she made herself or with a dressmaker.  Four more nominations followed, and resulted in her induction into the International Best-Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1962.  

Photographed by the world’s leading talents including Slim Aarons, Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Cecil Beaton, Robert Doisneau, Horst, Jean Baptiste Mondino, Irving Penn, Francesco Scavullo, Victor Skrebneski, and Juergen Teller, her image came to define an effortless elegance and a sophisticated glamour.

In 1999, Jean Paul Gaultier dedicated his haute couture collection to her with the title “Divine Jacqueline,” and in 2010, she received the Légion d’Honneur from then French President Nicolas Sarkozy for her philanthropic and cultural contributions to France.

The thematic exhibition will feature approximately 60 ensembles of haute couture and ready-to-wear primarily from de Ribes’s personal archive, dating from 1959 to the present. Also included will be her creations for fancy dress balls, which she often made by cutting up and cannibalizing her haute couture gowns to create unexpected, thematic, and conceptually nuanced expressions of her aesthetic. These, along with photographs and ephemera, will tell the story of how her interest in fashion developed over decades, from childhood “dress-up” to the epitome of international style.  

A muse to haute couture designers, they placed at her disposal their drapers, cutters, and fitters in acknowledgment of their esteem for her taste and originality. Ultimately, she used this talent and experience to create her own successful design business, which she directed from 1982 to 1995.  

While the exhibition will focus on her taste and style methodology, extensive documentation from her personal archives will illustrate the range and depth of her professional life, including her roles as theatrical impresario, television producer, interior designer, architect, and director and organizer of international charity events.

Designers in the exhibition will include Giorgio Armani, Pierre Balmain, Bill Blass, Marc Bohan for House of Dior, Roberto Cavalli, Jacqueline de Ribes, John Galliano, Madame Grès (Alix Barton), Valentino Garavani, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Norma Kamali, Guy Laroche, Ralph Lauren, Ralph Rucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Fernando Sanchez for Révillon Frères, and Emanuel Ungaro.

Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style will run November 19, 2015–February 21, 2016 at the Anna Wintour Costume Center at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

 

China: Through the Looking Glass Exhibition Extended through September 7 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gallery View Anna Wintour Costume Center, Imperial China Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gallery View: Anna Wintour Costume Center, Imperial China
Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gallery View Chinese Galleries, Astor Forecourt, Anna May Wong Evening dress, John Galliano (British, born Gibraltar, 1960) for House of Dior (French, founded 1947), autumn/winter 1998–99 haute couture; Courtesy of Christian Dior Couture Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gallery View:  Chinese Galleries, Astor Forecourt, Anna May Wong
Evening dress, John Galliano (British, born Gibraltar, 1960) for House of Dior
(French, founded 1947), autumn/winter 1998–99 haute couture; Courtesy of
Christian Dior Couture
Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

China: Through the Looking Glass at The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been extended by three weeks through Labor Day, September 7. The exhibition, organized by The Costume Institute in collaboration with the Department of Asian Art, opened to the public on May 7, and has drawn more than 350,000 visitors in its first eight weeks.  To date, the exhibition’s attendance is pacing close to that of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2011), which was the most visited Costume Institute exhibition ever, as well as the Met’s eighth most popular.

Chinese Galleries, Astor Forecourt, Anna May Wong Ensemble, Paul Smith (British, born 1946), autumn/winter 2011-12; Courtesy of Paul Smith Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chinese Galleries, Astor Forecourt, Anna May Wong
Ensemble, Paul Smith (British, born 1946), autumn/winter 2011-12; Courtesy of
Paul Smith
Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chinese Galleries, Douglas Dillon Galleries, Export Silk Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chinese Galleries, Douglas Dillon Galleries, Export Silk
Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chinese Galleries, Douglas Dillon Galleries, Chinoiserie Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chinese Galleries, Douglas Dillon Galleries, Chinoiserie
Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chinese Galleries, Douglas Dillon Galleries, Chinoiserie Dress, 18th century; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Fédération de la Soirie, 1950 (50.168.2a,b) Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chinese Galleries, Douglas Dillon Galleries, Chinoiserie
Dress, 18th century; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Fédération de la
Soirie, 1950 (50.168.2a,b)
Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chinese Galleries, Charlotte C. Weber Galleries, Ancient China Dress, House of Givenchy (French, founded 1952), autumn/winter 1997-98 haute couture; Courtesy of Givenchy Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chinese Galleries, Charlotte C. Weber Galleries, Ancient China
Dress, House of Givenchy (French, founded 1952), autumn/winter 1997-98 haute
couture; Courtesy of Givenchy
Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The exhibition, made possible by Yahoo, explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries. High fashion is juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, including films, to reveal enchanting reflections of Chinese imagery. The exhibition, which was originally set to close on August 16, is curated by Andrew Bolton. Wong Kar Wai is artistic director and Nathan Crowley served as production designer.

This is The Costume Institute’s first collaboration with another curatorial department since AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion in 2006, a partnership with the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. China: Through the Looking Glass features more than 140 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to- wear alongside masterpieces of Chinese art. Filmic representations of China are incorporated throughout to reveal how our visions of China are shaped by narratives that draw upon popular culture, and to recognize the importance of cinema as a medium through which we understand the richness of Chinese history.

Jar with Dragon (Chinese), early 15th-century; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Robert E. Tod, 1937 (37.191.1) Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Plato

Jar with Dragon (Chinese), early 15th-century; The Metropolitan Museum of
Art, Gift of Robert E. Tod, 1937 (37.191.1)
Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Plato

Festival robe worn by Emperor Qianlong, second half of 18th-century; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1935 (35.84.8) Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Platon

Festival robe worn by Emperor Qianlong, second half of 18th-century; The
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1935 (35.84.8)
Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Platon

Evening dress, Ralph Lauren (American, born 1939), autumn/winter 2011–12; Courtesy of Ralph Lauren Collection Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Platon

Evening dress, Ralph Lauren (American, born 1939), autumn/winter 2011–12;
Courtesy of Ralph Lauren Collection
Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Platon

Evening dress, Jean Paul Gaultier (French, born 1952), autumn/winter 2001-2 haute couture; Courtesy of Jean Paul Gaultier Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Platon

Evening dress, Jean Paul Gaultier (French, born 1952), autumn/winter 2001-2
haute couture; Courtesy of Jean Paul Gaultier
Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Platon

13."Quiproquo" cocktail dress, Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957) for House of Dior (French, founded 1947), 1951; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Byron C. Foy, 1953 (C.I.53.40.38a-d) Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Platon 14.Film Still from In the Mood for Love, 2000; Courtesy of Block 2 Pictures Inc. Photo: Courtesy

13.”Quiproquo” cocktail dress, Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957) for House of
Dior (French, founded 1947), 1951; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of
Mrs. Byron C. Foy, 1953 (C.I.53.40.38a-d)
Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Platon
14.Film Still from In the Mood for Love, 2000; Courtesy of Block 2 Pictures Inc.
Photo: Courtesy

Dress, John Galliano (British, born Gibraltar, 1960) for House of Dior (French, founded 1947), spring/summer 2003 haute couture; Courtesy of Christian Dior Couture Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Platon

Dress, John Galliano (British, born Gibraltar, 1960) for House of Dior (French,
founded 1947), spring/summer 2003 haute couture; Courtesy of Christian Dior
Couture
Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Platon

Encompassing approximately 30,000 square feet in 16 separate galleries in the Museum’s Chinese and Egyptian Galleries and Anna Wintour Costume Center, it is The Costume Institute’s largest special exhibition ever, and also one of the Museum’s largest. With gallery space three times the size of a typical Costume Institute major spring show, China has accommodated large numbers of visitors without lines.

Anna Wintour Costume Center, Imperial China Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Anna Wintour Costume Center, Imperial China
Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Evening dress, Tom Ford (American, born 1961) for Yves Saint Laurent, Paris (French, founded 1961), autumn/winter 2004–5; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Yves Saint Laurent, 2005 (2005.325.1) Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Platon

Evening dress, Tom Ford (American, born 1961) for Yves Saint Laurent, Paris
(French, founded 1961), autumn/winter 2004–5; The Metropolitan Museum
of Art, Gift of Yves Saint Laurent, 2005 (2005.325.1)
Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography © Platon

The Anna Wintour Costume Center’s Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery presents a series of “mirrored reflections” focusing on Imperial China; the Republic of China, especially Shanghai in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s; and the People’s Republic of China. These reflections, as well as others in the exhibition, are illustrated with scenes from films by such groundbreaking Chinese directors as Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Ang Lee, and Wong Kar Wai. Distinct vignettes are devoted to “women of style,” including Hu Die (known as Butterfly Wu), Oei Huilan (the former Madame Wellington Koo), and Soong Mei-Ling (Madame Chiang Kai-shek).

Directly above the Anna Wintour Costume Center, the Chinese Galleries on the second floor showcase fashion from the 1700s to the present, juxtaposed with decorative arts from Imperial China, including jade, bronze, lacquer, and blue-and-white porcelain, mostly drawn from the Met’s collection. The Astor Court features a thematic vignette dedicated to Chinese opera, focusing on John Galliano’s Spring 2003 Christian Dior Haute Couture Collection.

Designers in the exhibition include Cristobal Balenciaga, Travis Banton, Bulgari, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Callot Soeurs, Cartier, Roberto Cavalli, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano for Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino Garavani, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Picciolo for Valentino, Craig Green, Guo Pei, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Ralph Lauren, Christian Louboutin, Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Edward Molyneux, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Dries van Noten, Jean Patou, Paul Poiret, Yves Saint Laurent, Paul Smith, Van Cleef & Arpels, Vivienne Tam, Giambattista Valli, Vivienne Westwood, Jason Wu, and Laurence Xu.

This exhibition is one of the most ambitious ever mounted by the Met, and I want as many people as possible to be able see it,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Met. “It is a show that represents an extraordinary collaboration across the Museum, resulting in a fantastic exploration of China’s impact on creativity over centuries.”

Museum Members will have early morning private access to the galleries from Wednesday, July 22, to Sunday, July 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., before the Museum opens to the public.

Costume Institute’s Spring 2015 Exhibition at Metropolitan Museum to Focus on Chinese Imagery in Art, Film, and Fashion

Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film, and Fashion

Exhibition Locations: Chinese Galleries and Anna Wintour Costume Center

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that The Costume Institute’s spring 2015 exhibition, made possible by Yahoo, with additional support is provided by Condé Nast, will be Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film, and Fashion, on view from May 7 through August 16, 2015 (preceded on May 4 by The Costume Institute Benefit). Presented in the Museum’s Chinese Galleries and Anna Wintour Costume Center, the exhibition will explore how China has fueled the creative imagination for centuries, resulting in layers of cultural translations, re-translations, and mistranslations. In this collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art, high fashion will be juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, as well as Chinese films to reveal ongoing dialogues between East and West, past and present.

This is The Costume Institute’s first collaboration with another curatorial department since AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion in 2006, a partnership with the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Chinese Whispers will feature more than 100 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear alongside Chinese art. Filmic representations of China will be incorporated throughout to reveal how our visions of China are framed by narratives that draw upon popular culture, and also to recognize the importance of cinema as a medium through which we understand the richness of Chinese history.

The exhibition, a collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art, coincides with the Museum’s year-long centennial celebration of the Asian Art Department, which was created as a separate curatorial department in 1915. Chinese Whispers is organized by Andrew Bolton, Curator, with the support of Harold Koda, Curator in Charge, both of The Costume Institute. Additional support is provided by Maxwell Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman; Denise Patry Leidy, Curator; and Zhixin Jason Sun, Curator, all of the Department of Asian Art.

The Anna Wintour Costume Center’s Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery will present a series of “whispers” or conversations through time and space, focusing on Imperial China; Nationalist China, especially Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s; and Communist China, with an emphasis on changing images of Chairman Mao. These ‘whispers,’ and others in the exhibition, will be illustrated with scenes from films by such groundbreaking Chinese directors as Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Ang Lee, and Wong Kar Wai. Distinct vignettes will be devoted to “women of style,” including Madame Wellington Koo, Madame Chiang Kai-shek (Soong May-Ling), and Empress Dowager Cixi.

Directly above the Anna Wintour Costume Center, the Chinese Galleries on the second floor will showcase fashion from the 1700s to the present, juxtaposed with decorative arts from Imperial China, including jade, lacquer, cloisonné, and blue-and-white porcelain, mostly drawn from the Met’s collection. The Astor Court will feature a thematic vignette dedicated to Chinese opera, focusing on the celebrated performer Mei Lanfang, who inspired John Galliano’s spring 2003 Christian Dior Haute Couture Collection, ensembles from which will be showcased alongside Mr. Mei’s original opera costumes.

Designers in the exhibition will include Giorgio Armani, Sarah Burton (Alexander McQueen), Roberto Cavalli, Peter Dundas (Emilio Pucci), Tom Ford (Yves Saint Laurent), John Galliano (Dior), Jean Paul Gaultier, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Picciolo (Valentino), Craig Green, Ground-Zero, Guo Pei, Marc Jacobs (Louis Vuitton), Mary Katrantzou, Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel), Ralph Lauren, Ma Ke, Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen (Givenchy), Kate and Laura Mulleavy (Rodarte), Anna Sui, Vivienne Tam, Isabel Toledo, Dries van Noten, Vivienne Westwood, Jason Wu, Laurence Xu, and others.

I am excited about this partnership between these two forward-thinking departments that will undoubtedly reveal provocative new insights into the West’s fascination with Chinese aesthetics,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Met. “The artistic direction of acclaimed filmmaker Wong Kar Wai will take visitors on a cinematic journey through our galleries, where high fashion will be shown alongside masterworks of Chinese art.”

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,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in The Costume Institute. “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.”

Internationally renowned filmmaker Wong Kar Wai will be the exhibition’s artistic director working with his longtime collaborator William Chang, who will supervise styling. Creative production company 59 Productions (exhibition designers for David Bowie is at the V&A Museum and video for the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony) will serve as the exhibition’s production designers.

William Chang and I are pleased to be working in collaboration with The Costume Institute and the Asian Art Department of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on this exciting cross-cultural show,” said Wong. “Historically, there have been many cases of being ‘lost in translation’–with good and revealing results. As Chinese filmmakers we hope to create a show that is an Empire of Signs–filled with meaning for both East and West to discover and decipher.”

In celebration of the exhibition opening, the Museum’s Costume Institute Benefit will take place on Monday, May 4, 2015. Silas Chou will serve as Honorary Chair. The evening’s co-chairs will be Jennifer Lawrence, Gong Li, Marissa Mayer, Wendi Murdoch, and Anna Wintour. This event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements. Additional financial support for the 2015 exhibition and benefit is provided by a group of Chinese donors. The design for the 2015 Costume Institute Gala Benefit will be created by Wong Kar Wai and William Chang with 59 Productions, and Raul Avila, who has produced the Benefit décor since 2007. A publication by Andrew Bolton will accompany the exhibition. It will be produced by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press, and will be available in early May.