Perhaps the most exciting fashion event of the year that bridges the gap between the art world, fashion world, and entertainment world, is the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Met Gala. With more than 60 years' worth of exhibitions featuring whimsical themes ranging from Le Belle Époque (1982) to Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy (2008), we all wait in eager anticipation of the upcoming year’s fundraising event.This year’s theme is China: Through the Looking Glass. Highlighting China’s lasting influence on Western fashion, the exhibition features gowns from designers such as John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier, as well as the fine art and artifacts that inspired these memorable collections.
At The Way We Wore, everything we do is influenced by the art and culture of decades past. Doris’ extensive--and exquisite!--collection of ethnic textiles, garments, and findings is unparalleled. This year’s Met Gala theme inspired us to review the gorgeous items we have featuring Chinese embroidery, motif, and influence.
Originally, Chinese embroidery motifs symbolized status beginning with the Shang Dynasty in 1766 B.C. Once limited to the dynasty’s elite, embroidery evolved into a practice used by most women. Technique and motif varied, including nature and religious figures. By the Song Dynasty, between 960-1127, embroidery techniques began to combine calligraphy and painting.
There are four major styles of traditional embroidery:Su Embroidery, which comes from Suzhou and whose motifs reflect tranquility and elegance; Shu Embroidery, influenced by the geographic environment of Sichuan and features a refined style; Xiang Embroidery, influenced by painting and comes from Hunan; and Yue Embroidery which features motifs such as floral brocade and is from the Guangzhou and Chaozhou regions.