Schiaparelli and Prada Met 2012 Exhibit Pictures

Inside the Costume Institute's Schiaparelli and Prada Exhibit

Schiaparelli and Prada Met 2012 Exhibit Pictures

Let's talk about fashion: that's the premise of this year's Costume Institute exhibit, titled Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.

Through a series of videos directed by Baz Luhrmann, the exhibit — which was inspired by a series of Vanity Fair articles from the '30s — imagines Miuccia Prada and the late Elsa Schiaparelli (played by Australian actress Judy Davis) discussing their respective approaches to dressing women. Against this backdrop are clothing and accessories from each designer, arranged almost as if in conversation, too: In one gallery called "Waist Up, Waist Down," Prada's skirts are shown next to Schiaparelli's jackets. "To me the waist up is more spiritual, more intellectual, while the waist down is more basic, more grounded," Prada says in the coordinating video. "It's about sex. It's about making love. It's about life. It's about giving birth."

Other conversations include themes like "Hard Chic," which looks at the influence of menswear and military uniforms, and "The Surreal Body," which examines pieces like Schiaparelli's famous lobster dress and Prada's Fall 2011 skirts and shirts that are covered in large sequins resembling fish scales.

Prada told The New York Times that while she's never directly been inspired by Schiaparelli, she now understands "there actually were some similarities. But it is other people's vision."

Fashion's biggest names will get a first look at the exhibit tonight during the Met Gala, and the exhibit itself will open to the public on May 10 and close Aug. 19. For now, a sneak peek at the exhibit in the gallery.

Photo: A view of the exhibit.

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