Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations

Overview

Although separated by time, Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli—both Italian, both feminists—share striking affinities in terms of their design strategies and fashion manifestoes. Presented as an intimate "conversation," Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations aims to tease out formal and conceptual similarities between the two designers. Striking photographs and insightful texts illustrate the parallels between the two, including their preferences for interesting textiles and prints, ...

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Overview

Although separated by time, Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli—both Italian, both feminists—share striking affinities in terms of their design strategies and fashion manifestoes. Presented as an intimate "conversation," Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations aims to tease out formal and conceptual similarities between the two designers. Striking photographs and insightful texts illustrate the parallels between the two, including their preferences for interesting textiles and prints, eccentric color palettes, and a bold and playful approach to styling and accessories.

Schiaparelli, in the 1920s through 50s, and Prada, from the late 1980s to today, exploited the narrative possibilities of prints, sought out unconventional textiles, played with ideas of good and bad taste, and manipulated scale for surrealistic outcomes. Contemporary art plays a major role in the work of these inventive women—Schiaparelli in her famous collaborations with Dali and Cocteau, and Prada via her Fondazione Prada. Blending the historic with the contemporary, the catalogue brings the masterworks of both designers together into a grand conversation between the most important women fashion designers to ever emerge from Italy.

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Editorial Reviews

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
(05/10/12-08/19/12)
Paris Review - Sadie Stein
“A gorgeous companion volume.”—Sadie Stein, Paris Review
Birmingham Post - Richard Edmonds
"A stimulating read."—Birmingham Post
Chicago Tribune
“This volume begs to be read.” —Chicago Tribune
Paris Review

“A gorgeous companion volume.”—Sadie Stein, Paris Review

— Sadie Stein

ArtInfo
“The catalogue pages offer an insightful look at the exhibition”—Artinfo
The New York Times
“[A] handsome catalog”—The New York Times
Flare Magazine
“The must-have book of the season!”—Flare Magazine
Mediabistro
“A masterpiece of an exhibition catalogue.”—Mediabistro
The Los Angeles Times
“The reader will be bowled over.”—The Los Angeles Times
Studio International
“The catalogue is just as brilliantly conceived as the show and visitors who do purchase a copy will be well-rewarded when they consider these women’s words without being elbowed by fellow museum-goers.”—Studio International
Library Journal
Compiled and edited by Bolton and Koda (curators, Costume Inst., Metropolitan Museum of Art) and with an introduction by literary critic and biographer Judith Thurman, this book accompanies the exhibition of the same name at the Metropolitan Museum. The work of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, who designed from the 1920s to the 1950s, is compared and contrasted with that of fellow designer Miuccia Prada, who began designing in the 1980s and continues to the present. Both Italian women share a nonconformist and avant-garde attitude in their approaches to fashion design. The book contains direct quotes from the designers, along with new photographs of Prada designs and vintage images of Schiaparelli's clothes. The content is divided thematically, exploring the formal and conceptual affinities between the designers' work under such categories as Ugly Chic and the Surreal Body. VERDICT Beautifully designed with striking color and black-and-white images, this book is recommended for readers interested in 20th-century fashion.—Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Univ., MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300179552
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Publication date: 5/29/2012
  • Pages: 324
  • Sales rank: 1,453,886
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Harold Koda is curator in charge at The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Andrew Bolton is curator at The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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