The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Insitute’s China: Through the Looking Glass exhibition is nearly upon us and as the date of its opening approaches, more details about the show are leaking out. WWD today reports on the dedicated catalog coming out in conjunction with the exhibit, in which curator Andrew Bolton charts how Western fashion designers have been influenced by Chinese art and culture. “‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ is not about China per se, but about a China that exists as a collective fantasy,” he writes. “It is about cultural interaction, the circuits of exchange through which certain images and objects have migrated across geographic boundaries.”
Potentially problematic representation of this Chinese “fantasy” as told by the exoticising eyes of Westerners aside, the catalog also includes a Q&A with John Galliano, who got inspired by Chinese culture during a 2002 trip. The excursion later provided a jumping off point for his Spring/Summer 2003 Haute Couture collection for Christian Dior.
We’re hoping that Through the Looking Glass is done respectfully and celebrates the influence of Chinese culture on Western fashion in a manner that doesn’t toe the line of fetishization.
The exhibit will run from May 7 to August 16.