While perusing through my closet the other day, I stumbled upon my first pair of designer shoes. I bought them during the Summer of 1996. They were 500 Dollars. My rent was $489 per month and my mother thought I must have lost my mind; but I was not investing in a commodity, I was investing in a piece of art…
My first job, a stones throw from minimum wage, was in fashion; and the Prada Mary Janes were the most wanted shoe in Manhattan. The craftsmanship and detail of the engraved leather shoe, still captures the imagination of New York’s fashion elite. These shoes from the vantage point of a collector, were a home run. Why would a seemingly poor girl use an entire paycheck to make such a purchase? – my thoughts at the time were two. First… I needed to cut my teeth in fashion by wearing these Prada’s a season before release; Second… In addition to all the reasons above, I wanted to someday see them in a museum. That day has finally arrived.
The Prada / Schiaparelli Exhibit: An Impossible Conversation – Metropolitan Museum of Art May 1 thru Aug. 11, 2012. Is essentially a tale of two cities. The Juxtaposition of Muccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli’s designs evoke a sense what the Italians like to call “Siamo diversi ma tutti uguali” Translation?: In our differences we are the same.
Two designers side by side provide for us an explosion of feminine talent and design with an underlying lust for all that is tantalizing and curious. Not an in your face kind of sexuality, but a dip here, a toe cleavage there, an imagined conversation (allowing the observer to eavesdrop) between the two, where men and masculine provocations are the focal point and women are their intellectually desired counterparts.
On a bittersweet note: my Mary Janes, while sadly, not a part of the exhibit, were happily featured by photographer Karl Guerre (who photograph’s for Vogue Italia and Marie Claire.com streets styles) thereby confirming my Prada’s authenticity and regard. I do not yet own a Schiaparelli, but I imagine someday I will.