Two months before the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute show dedicated to Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada opens, the New Yorker's Judith Thurman has a lengthy story about the show. It appears Thurman didn't get to speak to Prada for the piece, but she did interview the curators. And perhaps best of all, the piece is accompanied by a gorgeous portfolio of photos by Platon, which showcases some of Prada's and Schiaparelli's most iconic designs.
"It is doubtful that the notoriously touchy Schiaparelli would have been happy about sharing a double bill, even with such an illustrious compatriot," writes Thurman, "or that Prada would have submitted to comparison with a contemporary." What Thurman doesn't mention is that Prada is in fact on record as critiquing the Met's curatorial vision for the show. This January, she told reporters, "They are focused on similarities, comparing feather with feather, ethnic with ethnic, but they are not taking into consideration that we are talking about two different eras, and that [Schiaparelli and I] are total opposite. I told them, but they don't care." (The company spokesperson quickly clarified that Prada's griping was just her independent mind: "Mrs. Prada confirmed that she admires the total curatorial independence of the museum to the extent that they almost did not take into consideration her vision.") Thurman does a good job of exploring the similarities, aesthetic and biographical, that make the Schiaparelli/Prada comparison one whose appeal is obvious to everyone (save, perhaps, the two principals).