Andrew Rossi filmmaker was given unprecedented access to the dramatic formation of China: Through the Looking Glass an exhibition curated by Andrew Bolton held in 2015
He followed the creation of what became the most attended fashion show in the history of The Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) as well as The Met Gala Ball, which launched the exhibition.
The Met Gala has been liked to the Super Bowl of social fashion events; it is certainly considered the annual party of the year in New York, one that every fashion conscious woman in the world would like an invitation to attend.
The party that launched China: Through the Looking Glass brought together some of the most illustrious figures in fashion, film, art, and music.
They included such luminary designers as Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano, as well as a host of contemporary pop icons like Rihanna.
The First Monday in May will be released in America on April 15 and in Australian cinemas on May 12, 2016.
The Culture Concept Circle’s Fashion editor Jo Bayley said when summing up the 2015 Met Gala Gowns she admired ‘… who wouldn’t want to let their imagination run wild with their imaginative dreams of the Orient’. Indeed!
The show explored Chinese-inspired Western fashion through one hundred and thirty haute couture and ready to wear fashions, juxtaposed on display with glorious objects made of jade, lacquer, and cloisonné and blue and white porcelain.
The fashion for blue and white was echoed in Ivanka Trump’s very chic gown.
Wearing a beautiful Chinese style garment made of coloured and embroidered silk that feels wonderful on the skin, is easy to wear and looks stylish both day and night can certainly uplift the spirit. Emily Blunt looked stunning in hers.
Its style makes a statement about the past, the present and the future, because costume, with the influence of fashion, fulfills many of our aesthetic dreams and is a worthy medium for artistic expression.
It also allows us to creatively communicate our ideas about who we are, while reflecting how we embrace change.
It’s all about the power of perception.
Throughout the seventeenth century the west’s great mercantile powers made fruitless attempts to gain trading bases in China by dispatching envoys to the Court of Heaven at Peking.
The western fascination for the east and its abiding images endured, adapting and changing over the following centuries to suit prevailing trends and in a mingling of cultures and traditions.
The eighteenth century infused fantasy into the equation and Chinoiserie was a style that combined flirtation with frivolity and folly.
The traditional clothing of China really refers to that originally worn by the Han ethnic group of people, who are considered the indigenous people of China who ruled from the era of the Three Emperors and Five Sovereigns to the Ming Dynasty (2852BC – 1644).
They wore garments of great simplicity in an elegant style that reflected their social and cultural growth as a group of people.
Like everywhere else in the world today in China traditions are changing and their costume is also changing to reflect the ideology of the contemporary age and their ever-expanding cultural connections.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe the influence from East to West was profound.
Now the influence of the west on the east is impacting on the evolution of their costume as China opens its doors and eyes to change their views on life and their impact on future economic growth in their own country and internationally.
In both our worlds costume encompasses all that we wear, including objects for personal adornment such as hairpieces, hand coverings, footwear and other accessories as well as undergarments and jewellery.
All these various aspects of costume individually have an interesting history of their own in both western and eastern cultures.
Noted art history James Laver wrote in 1959 that ‘without the invention of clothes and all the psychological consequences that have flowed therefrom, western civilisation would never have progressed as far as it has.
Great art, including fashion is a wonderful conduit for cultural exchange and development, and as a subject China its arts and culture have both allure and appeal.
Fashion dictates and reflects the changes and concerns of society in any one place at any one time. Economics most often determine the development of the societies in question and fashion today is big business.
The First Monday in May is coming to a cinema near you and you can be sure that I will be lining up at my local the Palace Como in Melbourne, the Australian home of fashion to enjoy this intriguing spectacle of fashion with fantasy.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016-04-03
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