Schiaparelli & Prada Impossible Conversations Harold Koda, Andrew Bolton, Judith Thurman

Publication date:
05 Jun 2012
Metropolitan Museum of Art
324 pages: 270 x 197mm
124 color + 82 duotone illus.

Schiaparelli and PradaAlthough 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 aims to tease out formal and conceptual similarities between the two designers.

Striking photographs and insightful texts will illustrate the parallels between the two, including their preferences for interesting textiles and prints, eccentric colour palettes, and a bold and playful approach to styling and accessories. Schiaparelli, in the 1920s through the 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, new technologies and unconventional modes of presentation will bring the masterworks of both designers together into a grand conversation between the most important women fashion designers to ever emerge from Italy.

More about this title

• This catalogue accompanies the exhibition 'Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute (10 May - 19 August 2012)
• Read an article about Schiaporelli and Prada on Yale's blog

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

"A stimulating read." Richard Edmonds, Birmingham Post

"A gorgeous companion volume."--Sadie Stein, Paris Review

Page spreads


Watch the related video

Milan Press Event for Impossible Conversations: Remarks by Harold Koda, Curator in Charge,
The Costume Institute and Andrew Bolton, Curator, The Costume Institute.

Related links

Visit the official 'Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations' exhibition page
Radical Chic: Article about the show in The New Yorker