The Costume Institute’s “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations” exhibition at the Met closed on Sunday to disappointing numbers. According to The New York Times, total attendance at the exhibit came to 339,838. Last year’s “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibit attracted nearly double that number: 661,509.
So what did “Savage Beauty” have to offer that “Impossible Conversations” couldn’t? For starters, it was seriously culturally relevant at the time, opening just a year after McQueen’s untimely death, when curiosity about the designer’s tragic genius was at an all time high. Then there was that incident in which an obscure McQueen wedding dress was worn by some anonymous bride somewhere in the UK just a few weeks before the exhibit opened. Plus, we aren’t about to pretend that the topic of “Impossible Conversations”–a concept based on the similar design aesthetics of and imaginary convos between two designers who never actually conversed at all, pieced together by way of Baz Luhrmann videos–was easy to grasp in the first place.
To put the dismal performance of the exhibit into further perspective, 2008′s “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy” show had 576,000 visitors, 2001′s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis show had 559,902, and 2005′s Chanel exhibit attracted 463,600.
Are you surprised by the lack of public interest in “Impossible Conversations”?