"Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations."
The exhibit juxtaposes the very modern Italian designer Miuccia Prada with the very dead Elsa Schiaparelli (hence, the "impossible" part) -- covering their fashions, lives and views on art.
Portrait of Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) by George Hoyningen-Huene was a fashion sensation in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, though her business eventually failed.
Schiaparelli, in this 1931 photo by Man Ray, wears a gown she designed with real and faux pleats down the middle.
Miuccia Prada earned a grad degree in political science, then trained as a mime (yes, a mime!) before creating one of today's most influential fashion brands.
Prada's Fall 2004 line featured computer-generated prints that simulated pleats. "You had to look very closely to see that they were all fake," Prada said.
Schiaparelli's playful matchstick print, on a silk crepe de chine dress worn by Wallis Simpson (later the Duchess of Windsor), photographed by Cecil Beaton for a 1935 issue of British Vogue.
From Prada's Spring 2000 line, a white silk crepe skirt with lipstick pattern.
Any good exhibit at the Costume Institute involves shopping and there are plenty of goodies to go with "Schiaparelli & Prada." Highlights include this lipstick print cosmetics case (a motif favored by both designers, $20. Check it out at the Museum's gift shops or go to store.metmuseum.org. (May 2012)
This collectible shoe ornament, modeled after Prada's famed Flame shoes, $30, is for sale at the Museum's gift shops and online at store.metmuseum.org. (May 2012)