The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute will unveil a high-profile exhibition next spring on China’s global creative influence.
Running from May 6 to August 16, “Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film and Fashion” will explore the considerable and varied ways in which Chinese culture has shaped the arts in the East and West alike, including fashion, costume design, porcelain work, painting, and films. Silas Chou will serve as honorary chair for the exhibition, while cochairs include such prominent names as Chinese actress Gong Li and Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence.
The exhibition’s fashion display will feature a wide array of designs by the world’s top designers and brands, including Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, and Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent. The more than 100 designs featured will “escape the notion that designers inspired by China perpetuate the orientalist appropriation,” according to Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton.
Yahoo will serve as the exhibition’s primary sponsor, with the company’s president and chief executive officer, Marissa Mayer, serving as a cochair. Joe Zee, Yahoo Style’s editor in chief and executive creative officer, explained the company’s draw to “Chinese Whispers” in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily.
“It is probably one of, if not the, most important fashion event,” Zee said. “The exhibition and the way people can interact with fashion on a very global level was very important to us…[that] messaging is very aligned with everything that we are doing. Yahoo is about being global.”
The show comes at a time when the West’s interest in Chinese culture seems to be on the rise. The name “Chinese Whispers” came from a parlor game popular during the British Empire, in which participants whisper a message to each other in a circle until it is completely distorted.
“It’s a nice way to explain that a lot of the motifs and cultural images are often lost in translation,” says Bolton.
image credit: the metropolitan museum of art, photograph by nick knight