On Monday night, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted its annual gala. This year’s theme, “China: Through The Looking Glass,” showcased Chinese culture’s influence on western fashion.
While many of the celebrities at the event wore clothes with culturally appropriated, and rather stereotypical, Chinese motifs, pop singer Rihanna stole the show in a gown that featured a fur-trimmed, embroidered gold cape so large that it required three handlers.
In researching Chinese fashion, Rihanna came across designs by Guo Pei and asked her to design the gold dress for the gala, according to the Los Angeles Times. She was one of the few attendees wearing clothing from a Chinese designer.
Singer Janelle Monae was demure in a black and white ensemble. Her dress featured a cut influenced by Chinese silk dresses with a Mandarin collar and silk knot button cover.
“The great thing is, black and white represents the yin and yang, the opposite forces attracting, so balance in all things,” Monae said of her outfit. The dress was designed by a friend with the help of retailer H&M.
The event coincided with a joint exhibition by The Met’s Department of Asian Art and The Costume Institute, Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film and Fashion, which is showing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until August 15. The exhibit explores the influence of Chinese culture on western fashion, showcasing designs by Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and others.
Hollywood contributed several items to the exhibition: a gown made for Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong by Paramount Studios costume designer Travis Banton in 1934, and two blue and white dresses inspired by Chinese porcelain that were designed by designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte.
image credit: eventphotosnyc