On Fifth: Impossible Conversations

Each May our Fifth Avenue windows honor the MET’s highly anticipated spring Costume Institute exhibition exploring different avenues within the fashion industry and its wildly colorful history. Always stretching ideas beyond comprehension, this year’s exhibition conceives the impossible: conversations between two massively influential Italian designers who shifted the way we dress.

Musing upon a 1930s Vanity Fair caricature series by Miguel Covarrubia titled Impossible Interviews, the exhibition imagines conversations between surrealist wonderkind Elsa Schiaparelli and the postmodernist Miuccia Prada, hoping to inspire new understanding of Schiaparelli’s and Prada’s most avant-garde pieces (these exchanges Prada + Schiaparelli Windowsare further examined through simulated conversations between the two designers in a series of videos directed by the equally pioneering Baz Luhrmann).

Twenty or so blocks south on Fifth Avenue, David Hoey and our visual team continue the Schiaparelli/Prada dialog with a triptych of windows that consider their connections while simultaneously comparing and contrasting archival pieces hand-selected by Miuccia Prada against vintage photographs of Madame Schiaparelli’s fashion. David’s approach was to emphasize the exhibition’s conversational aspect; and, to achieve this, many quotations from both designers are juxtaposed by topic.

Schiaparelli’s Surrealist aesthetic continues in a larger-than-life fashion with Hoey’s presentation of Prada’s Spring 2012 Collection through colossal plaster facial features, cheekily displaying the current designer’s already-iconic flame pieces perched genteelly next to oversized noses and ears.

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