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Cover for Schiaparelli & Prada

Schiaparelli & Prada

Impossible Conversations

Harold Koda, Andrew Bolton, Judith Thurman (Introduction by)


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Although separated by time, Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli—both Italian, both feminists—share striking affinities in terms of their design strategies and fashion manifestoes. Presented as an intimate "conversation," Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations aims to tease out formal and conceptual similarities between the two designers. Striking photographs and insightful texts illustrate the parallels between the two, including their preferences for interesting textiles and prints, eccentric color palettes, and a bold and playful approach to styling and accessories.

Schiaparelli, in the 1920s through 50s, and Prada, from the late 1980s to today, exploited the narrative possibilities of prints, sought out unconventional textiles, played with ideas of good and bad taste, and manipulated scale for surrealistic outcomes. Contemporary art plays a major role in the work of these inventive women—Schiaparelli in her famous collaborations with Dali and Cocteau, and Prada via her Fondazione Prada. Blending the historic with the contemporary, the catalogue brings the masterworks of both designers together into a grand conversation between the most important women fashion designers to ever emerge from Italy.

Praise For Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations

The Metropolitan Museum of Art(05/10/12-08/19/12)
— The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“A gorgeous companion volume.”—Sadie Stein, Paris Review
— Sadie Stein

“The catalogue pages offer an insightful look at the exhibition”—Artinfo
— ArtInfo

“[A] handsome catalog”—The New York Times
— The New York Times

“The must-have book of the season!”—Flare Magazine
— Flare Magazine

“A masterpiece of an exhibition catalogue.”—Mediabistro
— Mediabistro

“The reader will be bowled over.”—The Los Angeles Times
— The Los Angeles Times

"A stimulating read."—Birmingham Post
— Richard Edmonds

“The catalogue is just as brilliantly conceived as the show and visitors who do purchase a copy will be well-rewarded when they consider these women’s words without being elbowed by fellow museum-goers.”—Studio International
— Studio International

“This volume begs to be read.” —Chicago Tribune
— Chicago Tribune

Metropolitan Museum of Art, 9780300179552, 324pp.

Publication Date: June 5, 2012

About the Author

Harold Koda is curator in charge at The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Andrew Bolton is curator at The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.