Originally written last April but was misplaced and just found. But with the one year anniversary of its release coming up as well as the first Monday in May, I felt it was a good opportunity to post this review.
Art in all its splendor is more than just paintings and statues. It is everything. To the vast majority of people only paintings and sculptures constitute real art. But art can be found everywhere including in the designs of buildings and even in clothing. The First Monday in May begins with discussing the Savage Beauty Exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2011 after designer Alexander McQueen’s suicide in 2010. This exhibit was the launching pad for future fashion exhibits at the MET including 2015’s China: Through the Looking Glass. The First Monday in May focuses on not only the efforts it takes to put on the exhibition and a star studded gala, but also the inspiration that Chinese fashion has had on the Western fashion industry.
The two central figures in this documentary are Andrew Bolton, the Head Curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, and Anna Wintour who is editor-in-chief of American Vogue. The two of them collaborate to put this massive 8 month undertaking together. This documentary does a nice job of showing the difficulties of putting on an exhibition of this size from the selecting of the outfits to be displayed from the designers’ collections to worrying about governmental support from the Chinese government. As well as working in concert with the other departments within the MET to make sure that the exhibition does not overshadow the permanent collection of Chinese artifacts.
Before watching The First Monday in May, I had an appreciation for the fashion industry to a point. But while watching this film I became blown away with the artistry that some designers will put into their designs. It is absolutely amazing what some designers have come up with from not just ancient Chinese dress but from even just a piece of dinnerware. Not only did I find myself quite engrossed in the film, I also found myself awe struck while looking at the selections for the exhibit when they were being installed and when they were walking though it during the gala. I can tell you after watching this I do not know how anyone could not see how the creations of the fashion world are art on the same level as masterpieces in the realm of paintings and sculptures.
I would have to give The First Monday in May 3.8 out of 5 stars.