I finally made it to the Costume Institute at the Met to see the memorable show ‘China: Through the Looking Glass,’ which explores the influence of Chinese culture on Western fashion. One of the Museum’s largest shows in its history, it is spread over three floors, celebrating the centenary of the Met’s Asian department. While Chinese art has had a tremendous influence on Western creativity for centuries since Chinese silks first arrived in ancient Rome, the show illustrates the conflicted approaches toward the East throughout the ages. During the 18th-century, the fashion for chinoiserie swept Europe and America, stimulated the development of the market for fabrics, ceramics, and lacquerware. But it is the 20th century, when the influence of Chinese fashion really took off, bringing to some stunning creations, particularly when it comes to haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear. I loved Balenciaga;s Chnoiserie from 1955; Paul Poiret's dress; gown by Ralph Laruren; Roberto Cavalli's dress in porcelain pattern (below); and the Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen had famously worn by Isabella Blow in the shape of pagoda.
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