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The Italian contribution to China Through The Looking Glass

An extraordinary exhibition tries to redress the unbalance of Western representations of China

The Italian contribution to China Through The Looking Glass

Claudia Astarita

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Aware that the West's view of China has been distorted by inaccurate representations of the country and its culture in the Western media and fashions of the 20th century, a new exhibition hosted by the New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (May 7 - Aug 16) is trying to redress this unbalance.

As explained by the South China Morning Post, the show's title, "China Through The Looking Glass", a direct reference to Lewis Carroll's novel, was chosen to reflect the theme of misrepresentation. According to Andrew Bolton, the curator of The Met's Costume Institute: "In this world, everything is topsy-turvy and back to front. Like Alice's make-believe world, the China reflected in the fashions in the exhibition is a fiction, a fabulous invention offering an alternative reality with a dreamlike nature. The show is not about China per se, but about a reflected fantasy of China."

Two Italian fashion designers have been invited to contribute to the exhibition: Valentino and Roberto Cavalli. Their stunning creations will be on show together with the ones of Yves St Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier and Karl Lagerfeld.

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