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The First Monday in May follows the creation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's most attended fashion exhibition in history, "China: Through The Looking Glass," an exploration of Chinese-inspired Western fashions by Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton. With unprecedented access, filmmaker Andrew Rossi captures the collision of high fashion and celebrity at the Met Gala, one of the biggest global fashion events chaired every year by Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour. Featuring a cast of renowned artists in many fields (including filmmaker Wong Kar Wai and fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano) as well as a host of contemporary pop icons like Rihanna, the movie dives into the debate about whether fashion should be viewed as art.
The First Monday in May movie full length review - Visually stunning, culturally not so much.
"It's quite easy to dismiss a fashion designer's engagement with China as being inauthentic." Andrew Bolton
The First Monday in May sumptuously depicts the activity surrounding the 2015 China Through The Looking Glass exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The star is Bolton, curator of the museum's Costume Institute, who engineers everything from costume production to how wide the train on a gown should be displayed.
In addition to that micromanagement, he has to deal daily with trustee and fashion icon, Anna Wintour, who seems blessedly serene and helpful with suggestions. In other words, everyone defers to Bolton, a genius in whom anyone would trust for the right taste and talk.
The show itself seems more interested in catching celebs (Justin Bieber appears more than once) than deconstructing the cross cultural richness implied by the title. In fact, I couldn't find many Asians around any of the events or work. "appropriating Chinese symbols" is the point made by a Wintour questioner.
But then, execs must have been more worried about the outlandish sum they paid to Rihanna to perform. BTW, her costume took two years to make, and it's a true spectacle. Kim K's butt is also generously displayed.
Any cultural inauthenticity didn't seem to hamper the spectacular displays, right down to a dress covered with dishes. As one of the thousands who saw the Alexander McQueen retrospective in 2011, I commend the museum for the splendor of which it is capable.