The First Monday in May

Film, Documentaries
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
The First Monday in May

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A look behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Every year the Costume Institute at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art holds an exhibition. The show is opened by an A-list fundraiser hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour on the first Monday in May. It’s the kind of party you’ll almost definitely never get an invite to, but this film from Andrew Rossi gives us an intimate insider glimpse. We see Wintour doing the table planning and Bradley Cooper dancing awkwardly with Rihanna. Thing is, while the access granted is captivating, it’s not the most interesting part of this documentary. Neither are the questions posed at the start about whether fashion and celebrity have a place in a museum.

The interesting stuff, unexpectedly, is actually the making of the exhibition ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’. Curator Andrew Bolton (who’s from Lancaster) plans to bring together collections inspired by the country and present them in the museum’s China exhibit. The clothes he’s picking are beautiful, but the majority of them are by white Western designers who openly admit to being inspired by movies and a fantasy of the country’s women, thus appropriating its culture.

We see Bolton and Wintour challenged again and again by – often Chinese – journalists and collaborators for playing into orientalism and stereotyping of the country. Whether Rossi knows it or not, this is one of the most compelling discussions of appropriation and the ignorance of the fashion world in ages.

Details

Release details

Rated:
12A
Release date:
Friday September 30 2016
Duration:
90 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Andrew Rossi