The First Monday in May

Or the last film I saw where I cried at the end. This documentary is about the preparation of the exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass presented at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Curator (and big time idol) Andrew Bolton said that everyone kept telling him about the success of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and its success, and how he could never pull a Savage Beauty again.

The reason I cried at the end was that he pulled a Savage Beauty: China: Through the Looking Glass had more visitors, and they were able to use couture dresses with the actual collection of Chinese art and artefact of the Met Museum. While all the stars and designers were enjoying the Met Gala (the annual fundraiser for the Costume Institute which is also the superstar heavy exhibition opening), we see Bolton walking alone in his exhibition, seeing the last details, making sure the show looked its best. It was a great way for me to see the show (since I couldn't make it to NYC to see it). It was just a real serene moment for a curator, after all he's been through during the film. During the whole movie you are rooting for Bolton, you want the show to be a success. It was announced at the end of the film that he will succeed Harold Koda as the Head of the costume institute. (insert heart-eye emoji here).

Andrew Bolton, perfecting the display

What I found the most interesting about the movie was seeing white people (museum staff, Vogue staff) questioning ideas of Orientalism and Chinese appropriation. (white people rarely question anything) Wong Kar Wai was part of the exhibition team, and he was really good at putting white people in their place. Even when they kept saying that "it was not the goal of the exhibition" Wai was there to give suggestions, and people listened. (learn the lesson: work with people of colour!).

Anyway, this is not really a movie critic, but I recommend this documentary if you love fashion, if you are interested in fashion curating, if you love Vogue magazine. I find it interesting and entertaining, and it really made me understand a bit of how it works to curate a fashion exhibition at the Met. It really made me want to work with fashion within a museum. Rihanna just looked fabulous and broke the red carpet that night, being one the only (and maybe the only) guest rocking an actual Chinese Designer, Guo Pei. 

Rihanna, in a Guo Pei couture dress

An example of couture dress inspired by Chinese vases