Fashion Seduced By China

China: Through the Looking Glass and the most anticipated gala are here. The Costume Institute prepares for its spring exhibit and a much anticipated party.


The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will present its latest costume exhibit: China: Through the Looking Glass on display from May 7th through August 16th and will explore the influence that Chinese art and film have had on Western fashion design for centuries.

Evening Dress by Jean Paul Gaultier Fall 2001


The Met’s Chinese galleries and the Anna Wintour Costume Center will feature more than 130 haute couture and ready-to-wear garments juxtaposed with traditional Chinese masterpieces in jade, lacquer, cloisonné, and blue and white porcelain.

Chinese imagery will be used throughout the exhibition, presenting a series of “mirrored reflections” focusing on the evolution of art, fashion, and culture from the times of Imperial China to the present day People’s Republic of China.

“From the earliest period of European contact with China in the 16th century, the West has been enchanted with enigmatic objects and imagery from China, providing inspiration for fashion designers Paul Poiret and Yves Saint Laurent,” said Andrew Bolton, curator of the exhibition. “Through the looking glass of fashion, designers conjoin disparate stylistic references into a pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions.”


Asian Art Department chair Maxwell K. Hearn agrees with Bolton.

“China has long been an intriguing source of inspiration for Western artists and as the Met’s Asian Art Department embarks on its 100th year, our permanent collection continues to celebrate the genius of China’s ancient traditions,” said Hearn.

“This collaboration between two curatorial departments demonstrates how Western designers have responded creatively to those traditions in ways that are both provocative and insightful.”

The Museum’s Costume Institute Benefit will celebrate the exhibition’s grand opening on Monday, May 4th, 2015. Silas Chou, renowned apparel mogul from Hong Kong and former Michael Kors front runner, will serve as the Honorary Chair. The evening’s co-chairs will include Jennifer Lawrence, Gong Li, Marissa Mayer, Wendi Murdoch, and Anna Wintour. This event is the Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions and capital improvements.

Valentino from the Shanghai collection


The China: Through the Looking Glass exhibition is sponsored by Yahoo, Condé Nast and several contributions from Chinese donors.

Christian Dior


For more information on the exhibit and to view a special feature about China: Through the Looking Glass visit


Actress Anna May Wong, The Lady from Shanghai Paramount Pictures 1936